I am probably a bit late on this one, but I stumbled upon Odyssey’s online music portal just recently and am very pleased with the service. A mixture of different music sites like Soundclick or Last.FM, Odyssey Live allows users to create accounts to listen to some of their favorite artists online (though one need not subscribe to listen to the music as of now). Call it a Friendster for Philippine music aficionados. Though it may lack the more advanced recommendation features of its foreign brethren, Odyssey Live should be an excellent portal for people who want to experience more of local music.
As mentioned, the website allows fans to create listener accounts, while also giving bands the option to create artist accounts. The main difference between these accounts is the ability to upload music, as only artists have the right to do so. This means that regular listeners can’t just upload their favorite tracks. They can, however, upload pictures, post to a blog, add friends, and, in the future, post videos as well. Multiply, eat your heart out.
Aside from the social networking features, users are also able to listen to their favorite bands’ music through their artist accounts. For those still looking for OPM album art, the website has that too. Many major bands such as Urbandub and Imago have posted full songs on their profile for listeners to stream and listen to, facilitated by a Flash-based cover flow (ala iTunes) interface. Bands like Sandwich and Cambio have even uploaded their entire albums onto the website, including recent fare like Sandwich’s <S> Marks the Spot and Liquid Jane’s Newspaper Bottle, with Pedicab’s latest, Shinji, Ilabas Mo Na Ang Helicopter, on the way (Check out my review of the album here). There are even a few foreign acts like Radiohead on the site, which is basically an added plus (If you haven’t listened to The Bends yet, then get to it, the whole album is on the site). Aside from mainstream fare, many independent releases such as the aforementioned Newspaper Bottle and Sheila and the Insects’ (remember to make yourself useful and help rename their new band!) Manipulator are also posted in their entirety on the site, making Odyssey a repository for some excellent albums that one may no longer be able to find in record bars. That last feature just gave me a musical orgasm (though that band, sadly enough, does not have an account on the site).
One feature that would be nice, though, would be a recommendation service similar to those of Last.FM or Pandora. With a fairly broad database of music, something like that would do wonders for the bands as well as the service itself (when it starts offering paid downloads as the site says it will). Another caveat would be the coding flaws on the website (of course, it is still in beta, so they are excused), which make the cover flow feature a bit glitchy at times. Also, since artists do have to sign up in order to be available, not every band is available (I did mention Musical O’s absence already), nor do all of the bands offer streams (Up dharma Down would probably be the biggest exclusion). I will also question the lack of a Terms of Service, as this might mean that e-mail addresses can be sent to spammers, or that data is collected from the service’s users. Even in beta, that is something that I consider inexcusable.
Nevertheless, my experience with Odyssey Live has been very positive, and I look forward to the website’s official release. If the service can get more artists and enough bandwidth for all the streaming (though it has been fast enough for me), it can be an excellent visit for any music fan. Visit the site here.