While its birth was a relatively low-key affair, the launch of Mulve into the mainstream proved to be quite the opposite. In September the news of its arrival was reported on dozens of sites but it all came crashing down just a few days later. Undoubtedly prompted by IFPI, BPI and the Big Four labels behind them, the British police moved to make an arrest. Mulve was no more.
However, as we pointed out in a follow-up article, Mulve-style functionality could be achieved in a number of different ways, but none of them really added anything to the original experience.
But now, Mielophone – a new app from a small team of Russian coders – takes the Mulve idea and pumps it full of performance enhancing substances.
“Basically there’s two of us. There was also guy who created a design for the app but he disappeared somewhere,” programmer Yamalight told TorrentFreak.
While Yamalight is a guitar-playing martial artist currently doing a PhD in Europe, his partner in the project, Recoilme, simply describes himself as a music lover.
“Our motivation to create Mielophone was pretty simple. After last.fm (and all other online radios like Spotify etc) became completely paid in Russia (‘cos they couldn’t get an agreement with local music labels etc.), there was no more sites to just listen to music or discover new stuff, or do any of cool things from last.fm,” Yamalight explained.
“So we decided to write our own app that combines all cool services into one thing.”
Once installed and run, the Mielephone interface is pretty self-explanatory. While one can search for individual tracks by clicking the ‘Tracks’ tab, music discovery can also take place using the ‘Albums’ tab. By clicking here and entering an artist or band name, a selection of album covers will appear as shown below (left). Clicking an album cover will automatically switch to the tracks view where all tracks in the chosen album will be displayed (shown below, right).
Selecting single tracks for listening in the integrated player (which also has a playlist editor) is as simple as left clicking them while download queuing is achieved with a right click. Queuing the entire album is achieved with the ‘Download all’ button in the bottom right of the track window. All chosen tracks will then be transferred to the ‘Downloads’ tab where queued but unwanted tracks can be deleted with a right click.
Downloading all queued tracks is done with a click of the floppy disc icon. Download folder location can be configured in Options/Settings.
Clicking the ‘Artist’ tab will bring up a bio of the artist in question (albeit currently in Russian) and selecting the adjacent ‘Video’ tab willl, unsurprisingly, give a collage of artist videos which can be either be viewed in the app or a web browser.
Artist bio and videos
But Mielophone isn’t done yet. Aside from the selectable music sources (listed in ‘Options’) and YouTube, three other online services are also utilized.
First off, MusicBrainz is used to get albums and tracklists and was chosen for its accuracy. Last.fm is used for a number of functions including obtaining artist info and covers, to generate radio by tag, to get the top 100 songs by artist (right click, track view, excellent for discovery), and to scrobble. Lyrics.com use is self-explanatory and again accessed with a right click in the track view.
Mielophone requires Adobe’s AIR to run and was chosen in order to service users of multiple operating systems and to ensure they get new versions of the software as soon as they become available.
“The first versions of Mielophone were actually written in like 3 or 4 different languages, but when lots of people started to ask us for a version for Mac and Linux we decided to switch to AIR which has all the stuff we need and works great under all OSs,” said Yamalight.
Development of Mielophone is still underway and users of more operating systems will be able to enjoy it soon – there is already iOS and Android versions on the way.
The Mielophone homepage can be found here, and the ‘install now’ button is the most user friendly option for those without AIR already installed.