Shuffler.fm, one of our favorite ways to “channel surf the music web,” has a new iOS version of its online music magazine we liked so much last August.
The Shuffler.fm iOS app (free; universal iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad version) builds upon the success of the web version, but of course, it’s one thing to pore over a computer and another to whip a phone out of your pocket to see and hear the entire web turned into a music “radiozine,” with bloggers as the DJs.
At its core, Shuffler.fm is an efficient tool for harvesting the latest trending music, listening about it, and reading about it, with a design that feels perfectly at home on the iPhone and iPad.
Sitting on a sunny porch about to embark on a vacation, I had it up and running in seconds and found a world of excellent stuff to choose from. If you’re bored of your iPhone’s music, this is a fantastic cure. Once you set up the blogs and artists you want to follow, you get a personal “radiozine” for sitting back and listening to the freshest stuff likely to suit your taste. The app’s baked-in discovery tools make it easy to find plenty of new musical sources you can enjoy at that moment and later.
Wherever you are within this well-laid-out app, you can tag what you find as favorites with a simple tap of the Star to add it to your own profile playlist, or send it to any online friend via Twitter, your own Facebook wall, email, or (crucially for those of us who don’t like being locked into our usual networks) by copying the link into any other app.
Shuffler.fm lets you sign in with Facebook Connect or email.
At first, your Profile is empty. That won’t do, now, will it.
To set it up, choose the blogs to which you’d like to subscribe by clicking the plus sign next to any of the 50-plus hand-picked blogs in the Featured section, or find any other music blog in the All section, which is a seemingly endless list:
You can sort all of every blog’s latest postings by genre, in order to find videos and music to listen to. If the song was delivered on that particular blog in video form, you’ll see that too:
And of course post it to your Facebook wall, or Twitter, or email, or anywhere else (via copy-URL-to-clipboard):
Trending, Charts, and Latest keep you on top of what the kids are listening to, just in case there’s something in there you’ll like too.
Nifty: You can swipe anything on any list to Favorite it or Subscribe to it with another tap — neat, tidy, and effective:
Rounding things off, you get a nice summary of everything you’ve favorited, all the blogs you’ve subscribed to, and all of the artists you’ve subscribed to, so you can listen to your slice of the web’s music whenever you want. You always have the option to tap through and read whatever the person who posted it had to say about that track and that artist:
The new Shuffler.fm iOS app is so easy to use that there aren’t any settings per se to tweak. All you have to do is pick the stuff you like, listen, and learn. The options lie entirely in your music preferences, so all other settings are designed out of the equation by virtue of their un-necessity. If we have one bone to pick, it’s that there’s no Skip button, because you’re always choosing a song or an entire list of music to listen to.
We have a feeling that is by design, and it makes the user more conscious of what they’re listening to, which is probably a good thing. Most importantly though, where the author is concerned, it gave us great new stuff to listen to — and subscribe to — from a sunny New England porch.