September 6, 2011 at 1:34 pm

RCRD LBL Delivers Free Curated Music to the iPhone

rcrdlbl appWe’ve long been intrigued by the way RCRD LBL manages to pay bands like a label while distributing free songs like a blog. Now, it comes in app form too.

The RCRD LBL iPhone app, which the company describes as “the first-ever free, entirely curated music app in the [iTunes] store,” serves up a new selection of hand-picked tunes each day for you to stream, add to playlists (within the app only), download, and/or share.

It’s kind of like having a friend make you a mix tape each day — one that you can take everywhere, because the app lets you download songs or playlists to your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, so you can play them even without a wireless data connection.

So then, the real question: Is RCRD LBL your friend?

Maybe. Music on the service tends towards the rock, dance, and electronica flavors, with a heavy emphasis on new songs and new artists. The app delivers each day’s RCRD LBL releases and remixes, as well as playlists created by the company’s staff or “special guest” celebrities. (Today’s playlist comes courtesy of Freelance Whales.) If you only like to listen to music you already know, or if your taste doesn’t match with that of its staff, this app is not for you.

But if you happen to like the music favored by RCRD LBL, a collaboration between Peter Rojas of Engadget and Gizmodo fame and Josh Deutsch of Downtown Records, this app warrants installation because it delivers from a technical standpoint, with easy-to-use menus and powerful features for playlisting, sharing (email, Twitter and Facebook), and offline playback. The only major omission we could spot was the lack of AirPlay support.

It’s highly unlikely that RCRD LBL will be your sole or even primary music listening app, but who cares? The allure of app platforms like the iPhone is that you don’t have to choose just one way to listen, the way you used to.