In case you haven’t heard of The Hype Machine, it’s a curated stream of new music from all corners of the Internet that walks the fine line between being super cool and very, very popular. It’s the modern juke box, the mix tape service all the kids are throwing on at parties these days.
In October 2009, our European editor Martin Bryant wrote a post titled: “Music fans rejoice: Hype Machine planning iPhone app.” The Hype Machine’s founder Anthony Volodkin announced these plans, telling a crowd at the In The City music conference in Manchester, UK that the iPhone app would provide a “radio-like” experience with royalties for the music paid for by charging for the initial download of the app. After nearly 18 months brewing, Volodkin has finally uncorked the official Hype Machine iPhone app for the music lovers of the world.
How does the app differ from the site?
The site is more of an index of what bloggers are talking about, as well as popularity charts around that information. It’s also targeted towards a really active music fan – someone who constantly seeks out new music. The app turns music blogs into radio stations. We create uninterrupted streams of music of several ways (below) and it’s a much more lean back, passive experience. We are excited to offer such a different way of interacting with music blogs – there’s no way to experience them this way on a mobile device otherwise.
-Founder Anthony Volodkin
The name of the app is Hype Radio and here’s a list of the ways you can listen to songs: Latest, Popular, By Genre (10s, 2011, 80s, acoustic, alt-country, alternative, alt-rock, ambient, etc.), Radio Show (monthly selection), Blog Directory (a list of thousands of blogs which Hype Machine pulls their content from) and the more personal options: My Songs (ones you’ve “hearted”), My Friends (what your friends are liking on Hype Radio) and My Subscriptions (artists or blogs you’ve subscribed to on The Hype Machine website).
Playback is smooth on a WiFi connection, but a bit slow on 3G. Also, Hype Machine’s music licenses limit the number of songs you may skip to 5 songs. To get around it, just let the song play for 20 seconds and skip away again.
So why did the app take so long to build? “We are a small, bootstrapped team,” says Volodkin, “Which introduces some unique challenges. We’ve also had a few prototypes for the app that we weren’t happy with, and it took some time to come up with a product that is appropriately simple and fun enough for a phone. We are doing a non-free app, so the usual matra of “release early, release often” didn’t fit here entirely.”
Volodkin’s favorite part of the app? “I love the combination of artwork and the lean back experience the app creates. I’ve been really enjoying new posts in the “ambient” genre,” he says.
What is Volodkin listening to these days? “Last week, I rediscovered Amon Tobin’s recent records and then listened to them a couple of more dozen times. We’ve also premiered the new Holy Ghost! record a few weeks ago, still really enjoying that. They are excellent,” he says.
Rock on. Get the app here. $2.99 in the U.S. or £1.79 in the lovely UK. Android on it’s way!