Developer Rony Fadel contacted Evolver.fm alerting us to his creation Twist Radio for iOS, powered by APIs (application programming interfaces) from SoundCloud and Last.fm. If you’ve been dutifully scrobbling your music playback to Last.fm (now owned by CBS), it now knows, sort of, what you like, as well as what lots of other people like.
However you don’t need to use Last.fm in order to use Twist Radio — in fact, there isn’t even a way to enter your Last.fm name. Instead, the app uses Last.fm’s store of data for programming needs such as determining similar artists, so when you search for one, you see the others.
As for Twist Radio’s music, all of that comes from SoundCloud’s API, which lets the app hook into a massive repository for DJ mixes, songs uploaded by artists, and all sort of other interesting stuff. It displays a bunch of artists in a colorful, tile-like interface, but we much preferred the search feature, which lets you find music via artist or song name, stream it, and if you want, add it to one of your personalized stations.
You can also listen to top charts, search by artist, and look for “exotic hits by genre.” Any track can be shared via Twitter, Facebook or email, or added to your own personal list of favorites. When you find something you like, you can save it to a playlist for later playback.
However, the app can only grab music from SoundCloud over the internet, so the contents of playlists cannot be saved to your phone for local playback. Listeners without unlimited data plans might want to restrict their listening to WiFi only, or otherwise make sure they don’t deplete their plans listening wirelessly.
Overall, we found Twist Radio to be a neat way to listen to music that might not be on other streaming radio services, because SoundCloud hosts plenty of remixes and mix tapes you won’t find anywhere else. The songs take too long to buffer before they play and album art is often missing, but that’s ultimately a fairly small price to play when the app is free and lacks audio ads.