Internet radio may offer plenty of content to choose from, but personalizing it isn't always an option. Jango Radio is a free iOS and Android app that not only personalizes Internet radio stations for you based on artists, but also provides an avenue for music discovery, too.
- Available at: Apple App Store, Android Market
With personalized Internet radio platforms such as Pandora and Spotify yet to enter Canada, finding alternatives that can work just as seamlessly can be challenging.
A free app for iOS and Android, Jango streams full-length songs in LTE, 3G or Wi-Fi in a never-ending playlist based on an artist you like. Repeat the process with other artists, and you can have a number of playlists that do the same thing.
An e-mail and password is all that's needed to sign up and get started. From there, tap the "New Station" button at the bottom and type in the artist of your choice. The app then creates a customized station with songs from the chosen artist and others with similar musical styles and genres. Songs are streamed in their entirety, and you can skip forward, but not backward. A photo of the artist and the song title are displayed on-screen.
Jango can also play in the background, so if a call comes in, or navigation instructions are called out from the phone, the music continues playing afterward. The quality of the stream can be adjusted via the menu, ranging from low, medium to high. In my testing, the high-quality stream worked on LTE, 3G and Wi-Fi with barely any hiccups.
Tapping the + symbol to the right of a newly created station lets you customize the spectrum of what the station will play. You can limit it to just popular songs or go with a happy medium or wide range. Regardless of what you do, Jango will mix popular musicians with lesser-known and independent acts.
If you find someone you like, you can tell the app to play more of that particular artist in an existing station, or create a new one based on the performer or group.
For a change of pace from artist-based stations, Jango also has more than 100 embedded stations based on different genres and sub-genres. Choose any one of them and you can stream them the same way.
The one downside in managing the app is that it requires you to actually handle the phone to switch stations while you're on the road, so setting everything up should be done before driving. On the bright side, Jango has a dual-use in that you can stream the app through a speaker system at home or the office as well.
Then there's the music discovery side of it. Although Jango doesn't give you a track list of what a station played, you're likely to find songs or artists that you'll want within hours of using the app.