There’s almost no end to the amount of music that is accessible on your smartphone or tablet.
Several apps and streaming services are already well-known, but there are others that have popped up, some with unique ways in how they put music together and how they present it to you.
Available at: Apple App Store, Google Play, BlackBerry World
The folks at 8tracks make it a point to note that this kind of Internet radio is created by people, and not algorithms, thus leading to playlists more finely tuned to your tastes. Personalizing your tastes goes beyond just genres and artists, and includes moods and feelings, too.
For testing purposes, you can choose “Take me to the music” to sample some of the various mixes that are available, each with their own tag, artist or description.
Listening to music is really no different than any other streaming app, though it becomes obvious after a while that these are indeed man-made playlists. The level of choice (after sign-up) is extensive, and you can get in on the act yourself by creating and sharing your own playlist based on your tastes.
The app works flawlessly on iOS and BlackBerry 10, but has stumbled as of late on Android. Sometimes, songs or playlists will stop for no reason, while the app freezes in other cases that require a restart. An update should fix this when it’s released.
Available at: Apple App Store, Google Play, BlackBerry World, Windows Marketplace
The good thing about Soundtracker is that it doesn’t require much to use it and understand it.
Much of it is based on you choosing an artist or genre you like, and then having a radio station created for you automatically based on that choice. Songs from similar artists will populate the station and play automatically.
This concept is a lot like Jango Radio, an app that essentially does the same thing. Soundtracker goes easy on the ads, and just serves up the music. However, you lose out on the customization Jango offers, which is determining how much or how little certain artists’ songs play.
Like 8tracks, there is a social networking element to this, but you can ignore it if you prefer. Unlike 8tracks, you can’t create a playlist based on mood or activity. For simple listening, and straightforward interface, Soundtracker delivers the goods, but doesn’t have the same level of unpredictability of other radio streamers.
Available at: Apple App Store, Google Play
This is a standout app for the simple fact it offers a huge library of music from independent artists across the world that you’ve never heard of.
This could range from an electronic group from Australia to a folk artist from Europe. You won’t necessarily find artists from exotic places, and foreign-language music seems to be at a minimum.
Despite that, there’s plenty to wade through. You can’t create your own playlists, and you can’t keep track of favourites, unless you log in via Facebook – a huge disappointment. Still, you’re able to listen to tunes through existing playlists, or tap Shuffle to give you a new random playlist. You might lament the lack of control, but at least you won’t fiddle too much with it while driving.
You can browse through Popular and Latest to see what’s considered good or what’s new, or just browse through genres (Remixes and Covers is a personal favourite). But outside of that, there’s very little customization to how or what you listen to.
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