Proposal: "Beacons" - getting more out of the existing Player

I discovered Resonate back in April or so, and since then I’ve used the Stream2own Player a lot.

Despite being a beta platform, I’ve always been really impressed with a lot of aspects about the player, and overall the design and aesthetic are really slick.

And I think we can get more out of the current player and make it a better user experience without having to make big changes.


One of the key peculiarities of using the Stream2own player are “Favorites”. I feel that in order to get the best user experience out of the Player, a user has to actually repurpose their Favorites section into a sort of bookmarking tool (and certainly, this likely was the intent behind it).

I don’t use Favorites in order to show my appreciation and respect for songs, or to single out the “best” track by an artist. I use Favorites to bookmark things and create “landmarks” inside the Player. Find a particular label you like? Favorite a key song so you can get back to it from one of their artists you like best. Find a great album? Favorite the first track so you can find your way back to it.

Without a full-featured library system inside the Player, and without a robust search engine, the main tool you have for mapping your journey through the Resonate catalog is this Favorites section. You “Favorite” things to create landmarks – to create beacons – which can guide you back to particular regions of the Resonate catalog. It’s your own personal map of Resonate.

When it comes to Favorites inside of Resonate, your real Favorites are clearly the songs you’ve listened to enough to now own, so if anything, those tracks should get the spotlight that “Favorites” suggests.


So, here’s the problem – what happens to the Top Favorites section if users aren’t favoriting all of their favorites, but are rather using the feature to bookmark things? Well, Top Favorites ends up being a pretty random playlist of tracks.

Worse, users don’t have much of an incentive to change their Favorites. More often, I remove a few to minimize the number of pages I have to flip through while trying to, say, remember the name of an artist I recently favorited and want to find again.

We end up with a section, Top Favorites, that has very limited usefulness for music discovery. These tracks essentially have never changed in my time using the platform, so this prime real estate in the Player ends up quite arbitrary. And it also doesn’t reflect artist or track popularity since users are disincentivized to Favorite every single track they like (to do so would lessen the usefulness of Favoriting as a bookmarking tool).


I think we could get a lot more out of the current Player by leaning into this imagery I’ve been seeding bit by bit into this little essay. What if – in the current absence of robust features – we invested in imagination and atmosphere? If the platform doesn’t really have search and library tools, what if we rewarded more the spirit of those users who like the idea of exploring the uncharted terrain?

What if instead of “picking favorites" you instead “placed beacons”? Rather than opening up your “Favorites” list, you would open up your “Beacons” list.

What if instead of “Random”, it was called “Wander”? Same result: a bunch of random tracks, but with a heck of a lot more magic to it.

And what if instead of “Top Favorites”, that space on the player would instead generate a random selection of beaconed tracks across users?

To click “Wander” generates a random list of potentially undiscovered songs – per the name, setting out into unknown.

To click “Find Beacons” generates get a random list of discovered songs – songs discovered and beaconed by other users. Like markings onto our collective Map of Resonate – you can follow those beacons to find new things.

This one change from the Top Favorites section to the Find Beacons section would be a dramatic shift in music discovery on Resonate, and the imagery is a lot more collaborative rather than competitive.


This platform is a bold project, with big dreams and a lot to do. We spend a lot of worthy time thinking of future big upgrades and features, but I challenge us as well to think of how we can get more out of what we have. To foster this spirit of exploration and cartography, and see if imagination and atmosphere can fill in some of the current gaps until the real upgrades arrive.

This whole idea, and the particular terms I’ve pitched, are obviously up for discussion. If you like these ideas and want to add to this vision, please share your own names and ideas, and share too about your own experience using the Player!

I’d love to chat more together on this theme broadly, and see where the conversation takes us.


Love the Beacons concept. It’s very close to the Segue concept you proposed before, but this one MIGHT be faster and easier to implement.

On the other hand, I think it is nice to have a regular Favorites section on the user’s player, and also that the Top Favorites section could be interesting when more listeners and musicians arrive, but right now, as you said, a “Find Beacons” section would be more useful. Still, it would be great to find a way to test the usefulness of the favorites section, and the Beacons proposal.

These type of features can set Resonate apart from other streaming platforms that share mostly the same type of player features.

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I’ve been using the Favorites exactly as described here, although I hadn’t considered it so deeply. But yes it’s more like a bookmarking tool since that’s the only one available in the UI. I’d also started using my browser bookmarks, but I feel like that will get unwieldy pretty quickly.

I think the idea of Beacons sounds pretty cool, and would lead to some interesting crowdsourced curation. Having Resonate provide some constraints could create some fun and powerful discovery tools:

  • Pandora mode — lock it to an initial genre and then send me toward others’ Beacons.
  • New releases — music that was posted recently within a certain timeframe.
  • New artists — Beacons that have not yet been stream2owned by a threshold of listeners. This would help to prevent paving too many cowpaths, so to speak, and avoid too much gravity on any one popular artist.

Related/unrelated: it is unintuitive to me that the Random section uses the “shuffle” symbol :twisted_rightwards_arrows:. I am so used to that symbol being a shuffle function that I sometimes click on it without thinking and get annoyed that I end up on the Random screen and lose my place.

In that same spirit of Wander, we could find a different symbol which better expresses that section. Here’s a couple symbols I found that feel a bit more “wander-y”:

↝ wander
↬ wander

Here’s a collection of arrow symbols if you want to find some yourself that you think express the Player’s random/wander feature. They’re fun to look through.


Hi @rupl ! I like the idea of having constraints in discovery tools. The Pandora mode could be a n interesting solution to stay on the same mood while keep discovering new music. It would be great to let the listener decide what genre of new music will come next. And the New artists mode sounds cool to me as a possible way of giving equal opportunities of discovery to all artists and encourage users to get out of their comfort zone as listeners.

For me the best arrow symbols for that matter are the ones you chose @Hakanto , and specially the first one, because it seems more clear than the second one, from my point of view.

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A bit more elaboration on this theme:

I’m not particularly worried about confusion due to giving unique names to Player features. We ought to build reference material into the Player anyway, so questions can be answered there (or better, naturally learned through engaging design). If a feature seems unfamiliar, this encourages the user to approach it on the level of “oh I don’t know what this is (but I can learn what it is)”.

Unless particular features work in a nearly identical manner to how those features work on the big platforms, then to use the same names for features here on a small platform will possibly cause confusion and user annoyance.

Features with unique names, like “Beacons”, “Wander” and “Segue” would give the Resonate Player more of a unique identity – help it stand out a bit and have atmosphere during this beta phase when it lacks more elaborate features.

I’m more worried by using familiar names for features that end up not functioning quite how a user assumes they do. I think “Favorites” (and to a lesser degree “Random”) currently fall into this category of being misleading. If a user assumes something works one way, and then it ends up not working that way, I think it is disorienting.

And as explained above, Favorites is not a meaningful signal of popularity due to how it currently disincentivizes favoriting in order to maintain its usefulness as a bookmarking tool.

While I like the “Beacons” name for the reasons explained above, it’s less important to me to push for that specific name – it’s more important to me to start this conversation about different approaches to naming features and what the pros and cons could be.

Playing devil’s advocate to myself, it is certainly possible that the existence of any unfamiliar features and feature names may be unappealing to a certain kind of user, but I doubt that that kind of user is our target market in the first place.

I’ve heard it said that we are striving to make Resonate a platform primarily for “active” listeners who want to be exploratory and engage with the music – if this is true, then I think features would benefit from being named to foster that same spirit.


Here’s a demo of what I was asking about in [Permission] Autogenerate my playlists.

In this demo, the unauthenticated user can search tracks and be presented with a best-guess representative track to start out with.

Once started, the next track could be the second-best-guess representative track, or it could try to find a path of unlistened-to tracks between two favorites / beacons, using tags or playlists as the stepping stones, or something similar (this probably should require authentication).

pw: demo

In the theme of getting the most out of the existing player, if it were possible for users to add tags to their playlists, the system in the demo could be a lot more useful. The playlist could serve as the “beacon” described in your post and the tags would describe the beacon in a way meaningful to the beacon creator.

Feels like something interesting could be built with the community credentials project to tie everything together.

(cc @auggod sorry if I made too many API requests over the past few days, I tried to keep it to a minimum)

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