Mercora Rebrands As Social.FM, Mac Support

[qi:032] Mercora, one of the earliest start-ups in the social music business is rebranding itself as Social.FM. The new branding – definitely an improvement over the old name – also comes with a new Mac client. Update: The company wrote to us and let us know that now you can listen to music via a browser on a Mac, which is welcome but kinda lame compared to the original news. [I have not been able to check out the new client, because the company website seems to be on the blink this morning.]

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company after making an early splash lost some of its cachet to newer, hipper players such as Last.fm and Pandora Networks.

Social.FM has all the features of Mercora, and has about 3.5 million user shared tracks that can be streamed (and played back) over the Internet. You can share music libraries with those in your network. These songs can be listened through a web client (build with Adobe RIA) and soon the company is going to introduce a mobile version of its service.

Earlier this year, I got a demo of the mobile version of Mercora (aka Social.FM Mobile) running on a EVDO Windows Mobile phone, and it was pretty impressive. The user interface and ease of use with you could tap into music libraries was pretty awesome. I hope they introduce an iPhone-ready version as well.

So far, online music is a business fraught with risks and devoid of profits. If Social.FM can get mobile carriers to sign-on for its service offering and convince them that it is a way to up sell wireless data services, the company can reverse the profitless trend. And at the same time it needs to get mindshare back – a tall order.

Will Social.FM be able to regain its early luster? Who knows, but then back in June 2007 I had given up on The New York Yankees chances to make it to the playoffs. Miracles sometimes do happen.

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