The Soundtrack to Your Life


The Soundtrack to Your Life, With a Stream of Discoveries

Dec.27, 2012 By Kit Eaton / The New York Times

Note: The following excerpt illustrates how recorded music continues to evolve in how we can find and listen to music. The radio 'apps' are interesting to Friends of the Phonograph (FOTP) since the invention of the radio and its growing popularity in the 1920's saw it combined with Phonographs, becoming Radio-Phonograph devices. As a 1929 RCA Radio-Phonograph advertisement put it "Music from the air or record."

Gone is the heyday of the vinyl record. The cassette tape is all but forgotten. Even the CD is losing its relevance; my children are amused by the idea that a little silver disc has music on it.

All of these sound storage systems are disappearing because of the rise of digital music files and the iPod. But today, the rise of wirelessly connected smartphones and tablets has brought a new way to listen to digitally stored music: streamed from a cloud-technology music service, via an app.

Pandora and Spotify are two apps that get all the attention in this digital streaming radio era, but what if you want to try a different one? There are plenty.

TuneIn Radio Pro ($1 on iOS and Android) is one of the cleverest of these apps. It’s got a very clear interface. Users will mainly focus on the app’s “browse” section, where there is a list of categories of online radio music sources, from local radio to popular “trending” stations alongside categories for talk, music or sports.

Tapping on “music,” for example, takes you to a subcategory list of types of music, and each of these then takes you to a relevant online radio station. You can also search by name for radio stations, shows, songs or artists.

When you’re listening to the radio, the app displays graphics like album covers and other data. If you wish, you can record the audio to play back later inside the app. It’s also clever enough to recommend similar music.

With a tap of an icon you can share music info over Facebook, Twitter or e-mail. I love the app’s ability to find something to listen to based on language — it’s a boon for learning a new one, and it’s great for finding global music that may be different from your usual favorites.

Shoutcast (free on iOS, and via WinAmp app on Android) is another “radio” style music app, with a minimalist-looking but easy to use interface. You can go with the app’s recommended radio stations, or search among stations that are grouped by category.

You can also search for a particular band or track, then click on the right radio station to listen to it. This can be an interesting experiment. For example, I found it amazing how many stations around the world were playing U2’s “I Will Follow” at the same time.

For the complete text to the on-line article, go to this NY Times link:


The Shoutcast app on iOS, showing search results of all radio stations playing a U2 track.   The TuneIn Radio Pro app has a suggestion feature that pops up to recommend music based on your selections.