We7 officially hit the Android Market this week bringing with it offline playlist access – something that not many of its competitors allow you to do, bar Spotify and a few others of course.
Having said that, there are tons of radio and music-oriented services out there and some are even available across a multitude of platforms. But with great selection comes even greater confusion – so, which are the best?
Here’s our take on the best music and radio apps currently out there:
Like Spotify, We7 for Android and iOS lets you save playlists of music to your device, which allows users to listen to tracks, shows and playlists without the need for a data connection.
We love this application and have been playing with it incessantly since we first got our hands on it.
Usually, we’re Spotify purists but the fact that We7 is free means that it takes the top spot – sorry Spotify, but you’ve officially been bested.
Having Spotify on your mobile is a blessing. Unfortunately, it’s a costly blessing and you have to be a premium subscriber to get the service on your mobile phone.
Nonetheless, once you’ve got it up and running on your device the benefits are plentiful – there are no adverts and you can save tracks to playlists, which can then be listened to offline.
The layout and settings within the application, on both Android and iOS, is second to none – it’s easy to use, has great in-app options and over 10 million tracks to choose from.
The only downside to Spotify is that it isn’t free and you have to be a premium subscriber – i.e: cough up £10+ a month for the unlimited desktop service – to get the application on your smartphone.
imeem, now owned by MySpace, is a music service for Android that lets users design custom playlists, which can be saved to your device for offline listening pleasure.
We’ve had a brief tinker with imeem and found it an absolute joy to use. The UI is great, as are the in-app artist recommendations, and the ability to save playlists to your mobile phone for offline listening.
The sound quality is great on imeem and we didn’t have any trouble whilst listening over both Wi-Fi and 3G – although, for optimum clarity, we’d recommend Wi-Fi.
So, if you’re in the market for a great alternative to Pandora or Last.fm we’d strongly urge you to give imeem a look. It might just be exactly what you’re looking for.
Pandora is one of the best music apps out there having both a gorgeous UI and extensive back catalogue of music from a varied crop of artists.
There’s also full artwork for albums, artist bios and when you pop it into landscape you get a CoverFlow-style view.
Pandora, like Last.fm, allows you to discover new music based on your current tastes and through searches within the app. Something that is fast becoming an indispensable tool to many music lovers these days.
We love Pandora. It’s simple, informative and looks great. In short, Pandora rocks – so make sure you get it.
OurStage won’t be to everyone’s tastes. For starters, it doesn’t have a masses of mainstream music like Spotify and Last.fm. Instead, OurStage is more about championing new music and up-and-coming artists – something that will be attractive to many a music aficionado.
How the app works is quite novel too. Once you boot OurStage up there are several genres to choose from. Once you’ve chosen your desired genre, OurStage begins feeding you recommendations. From here it’s up to you to decide whether you like what you’re hearing or not with either a ‘Thumbs-up’ or a ‘Thumbs-down’.
Once you’ve made a few Julius Caesar gestures OurStage begins recommending music to you based on your apparent likes and dislikes.
OurStage isn’t the best music app out there but it’s certainly worth a look as it’s free, gives airtime to unsigned bands and doesn’t feature advertising. How very punk.
And if that wasn’t enough, the developers hand over $5000 a month to the top searched unsigned acts on the application.
Here are some select snippets from our review of Aweditorium for iPad:
‘The concept is delightfully simple: Aweditorium features a large grid with a significant number of tiles, and each tile represents an artist. When you tap through to an artist, one of their songs will begin playing.’
‘You then have a number of options. You can listen to whatever song it is with lyrics running at the bottom or you can opt to learn some more about the artist, such as their history or some quirky anecdotes.’
And in conclusion: ‘Aweditorium’s developers have achieved something quite special in drawing together visuals, tactility and music into one place. And all for free.’
‘There’s the community aspect too, as you can share your likes across Facebook and Twitter.’
‘This is really what music should be about in today’s world: sharing music in the most immersive way and on the most current technology. Splendid stuff.’
TuneIn Radio (iOS and Android)
TuneIn Radio is, by far, one of the best applications currently available on the iPad. And if that wasn’t enough, TuneIn Radio is also available on Android and the iPhone as well.
TuneIn Radio, which costs £1.19 on iOS, is essentially an application that turns your device into a DAB radio.
Once you’ve got it downloaded you can search literally thousands of radio stations, browse through previous editions of shows and search for specific topics, people or stations in a Google-like search bar.
We absolutely love this application and if you have an Android or iOS device we advise you to stop what you’re doing right now, whatever it is, and download TuneIn Radio this instant.
Slacker Radio (BlackBerry + webOS)
Slacker Radio, like its desktop brethren, gives you access to hundreds of pre-programmed radio stations, as well as access to your own personal ones, which you can also create on the move within the application on your BlackBerry of Palm/HP handset.
There’s also pictures, artist bios and album artwork thrown in for good measure too.
We really love this application and we’re pleased to say that it’s as good on BlackBerry and webOS as it is on desktop.
But the absolute crème de la crème of it all is that Slacker Radio features offline song storage too, meaning you can listen to your favourite stations even when you have no data connection.