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iPhone app helps you scan blogs, search for music

iHeartNewMusic is basically a customized version of Safari with links to music blogs. It's adequate, but music fans could compile their own lists for free.

Monday, I downloaded a new iPhone app called iHeartNewMusic that helps you track new music via blogs. If you're the type of listener who scours music blogs regularly to find out about and sample new tunes, iHeartNewMusic will let you do that from your iPhone over a Wi-Fi connection.

None of these results was Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven," and I had trouble clearing them.

According to the iHeartNewMusic blog, Apple rejected iHeartNewMusic six times before finally accepting it. The blog doesn't detail why, but the application is pretty simplistic--it's basically a customized version of Safari with a list of bookmarks to dozens of blogs in categories such as Rock, Electro, Indie, and R&B. All of the included blogs feature MP3 samples prominently, and unlike the iPhone version of Safari, the app lets you play the MP3s on demand as streaming QuickTime files (Wi-Fi connection required). The selection is fine--some personal favorites like Brooklyn Vegan, My Old Kentucky Blog, and Stereogum are included, and it turned me on to a cool jazz blog (the only one in that category) called Destination: Out.

Unfortunately, the Search category contained only one link, to an MP3-finder site called Skreemr, and it's not the greatest--several of my searches returned no correct results, and others had a correct result buried under some obvious wrong ones. It's not as good as other play-on-demand sites I've recently discovered like Grooveshark or Just Hear It.

The user interface also leaves room for improvement: it simply throws up Web pages in Safari, without tailoring them to the iPhone's screen size or bringing you directly to a particular portion of the page (say, the search screen for Skreemr or the "play" button for the top MP3 on any blog). You have to scroll and adjust the screen size manually. I also found some performance gaps, such as slow transitions between screens and a bug that made it hard to clear saved search results.

In short, if you regularly check music blogs to find new music, this is a reasonable purchase for $2.99--it's the easiest way I'm aware of to play MP3 samples from blogs on an iPhone. Otherwise, it's probably a pass.