Action shots of the The Hype Machine Radio app.
Sometimes you just don't know what music you want to listen to. Searching through your music library can be like scrolling through the hundreds of channels available on your premium cable TV plan just waiting for something good to watch to jump out at you. Only it never does. You want something new. You want something different.
And sure, there are plenty of good music discovery services that double as Internet radio (Pandora and Slacker both immediately come to mind), but The Hype Machine has always been a favorite, and the mobile version of its online streaming music service wins Billboard.Biz's App of the Month award for May.
The music blog aggregator broadcasts music being streamed from hundreds of music blogs in a randomized playlist so it resembles an Internet radio stream. The music is often of the more under-the-radar, indie-rock ilk harder to find on traditional radio or even most Internet radio stations.
At long last, The Hype Machine has brought this experience to the mobile phone, in the form of the Hype Machine Radio app. There's no artists search. No on-demand playback. Just lean back and accept the stream. Users can select streams by genre, access a full blog directory of all the blogs the service tracks, or even set up a personalized stream just of the music on the blogs users select (or that selected by their friends also using the app).
Users can also view the original blog post hosting the stream of any given song with a click of a button, allowing them to read up more about the band, the song, and perhaps in the process even find a new blog to follow. And if you don't like a song in the stream, simply skip to the next one.
Some reviewers have dinged The Hype Machine for charging $3 for features they can easily get by accessing the Web-based service via their smartphones browser. These people are uninformed (Note: changed to nicer adjective. Ed.) and have no business writing app reviews. The app is ad free (unlike the website), which is a great experience. It's also far easier to use than using the browser, and the only real downside to the app is that it doesn't support cached streaming for when the phone is out of coverage.
That aside, Hype Machine Radio is a pleasure to use. It's music discovery without all the work. What else can you ask for?