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Accept app for music streaming, discovery

Donald Bell offers his review of the app for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch. logo's music-centered social network is one of our favorite ways to discover, share, and stream music online. Currently in version 1.01, the application for the iPhone and iPod Touch allows many of the best features of to break away from your computer and go on the road with you. The app isn't perfect, however, and people looking for a straightforward Internet radio application would do better with offerings from Pandora and AOL.

Photo od iPhone app main menu.
The app's main menu offers many ways to hear streaming music...maybe too many.

When launching the iPhone app for the first time, you'll be prompted to enter your existing account username and password, or you'll be offered the option to create a new account. If you're new to, we recommend you get started with the service using your home computer, since many features depend on an ongoing analysis of your computer's music collection (also known as scrobbling).

Once you're logged in, the app offers eight ways to stream music over EDGE, 3G, or Wi-Fi. You can listen to songs has already scrobbled from your computer's music collection, treat yourself to recommended songs, do a cold search for new music, or hear what your friends have been listening to. The music playback screen is similar to Apple's own iPod screen, displaying large cover art, volume, pause, and skip controls, as well as an iTunes purchase link and's own song rating buttons, which help to steer the quality of song recommendations. On the very bottom edge of the screen you'll find tabs for the currently playing track, artist biography, similar artists, events (such as related concerts), and a More tab that includes the track's tag information and Top Listeners.

With all its features, tabs, and buttons, the app is one of the most in-depth and dynamic streaming music applications available for the iPhone. Unfortunately, despite its ambitious list of features, the program is bogged down with performance issues that make it frustrating to use at times. During testing in both Wi-Fi and 3G modes, we often experienced 5 to 10 second buffer delays each time we initiated a music stream or skipped between songs. The buffer issues subsided under ideal circumstances where Wi-Fi or 3G reception was strong; however, similar streaming audio applications from Pandora and AOL offered better streaming performance under more realistic conditions.

With any luck, future updates to the app will improve streaming music reliability and refine the somewhat confusing assortment of menu options and playback screen features. In its current state, the app presents a bite-size version of the Web site experience in a way that may satisfy existing users, but is unlikely to win new converts.

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