13
Dec
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Last Updated: July 24th, 2011

Well, here we are again. Another week, another slew of apps to choose from. For a while there, we were doing an "App of the Week" series and then, for an even longer while, we weren't. I'd like for us to get back on the right path here, so I'm going to fix this.

App of the Week, Season 2: Eclectic Boogaloo

I've been a long time fan of Grooveshark. It is a service that, in my mind, cannot be beaten. There are tons of music streaming apps in the vein of Pandora, like Last.fm, and Slacker Radio, but they don't let you chose your songs or make a playlist. There are also awesome apps like Audiogalaxy and Subsonic, but they rely on the fact that you actually POSSESS the music you want to listen to. Grooveshark even manages to hold its own against similarly priced streaming music services such as MOG, Napster, and Rhapsody - they lack the option of allowing users to upload their own music, which can be a significant advantage if you're looking for obscure or hard to find tunes that aren't currently being licensed.

Image 3

HTML5 is pretty

Grooveshark is built on a simple premise: type in a song or artist, and voila, you can listen to it. The website alone (which was recently overhauled and re-coded in HTML5 - major props on that, Grooveshark) is reason enough to love the service, but they didn't stop there: they made one hell of a mobile app. You can grab the app in the Android market (or you wayward iPhone users can grab it from iTunes. Also, it's kind of weird that you're here.) although it does require that you're a Grooveshark subscriber. For $9 a month, however, it is a small price to pay for what is arguably the best music streaming service on the internet.

Enough about Grooveshark as a whole, let's talk about why you're reading this: the Android App. It integrates very well with the web app, allowing you access to all of your playlists, favorites, and uploaded music. You can also save music for offline listening. Nice!

Now let's take a little walk-through the app so you can see how pretty and functional it is. I also highly recommend you go to Grooveshark.com and listen to any music you see in the images that follow because I have really good taste in music. Not even kidding.

This right here is the first screen you're presented with:

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This screen gives you access to everything in the app. The categories are pretty self-explanatory, so I'll just show you pictures of what happens when you poke these things:

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These are, obviously, images of my list of playlists, the tracks that are popular on Grooveshark right now, and my favorites. The playlists have no song limit and I have taken measures to test that. My playlist "The Big Picture" has over 400 songs in it and is growing daily. Also, a lot of the music I listen to is pretty obscure, but 9 times out of 10, Grooveshark will have exactly what I'm looking for. In fact, these playlists and my favorites are the only access I have to many of my favorite songs. It's pretty impressive.

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You can also subscribe to others' playlists or create radio stations (a la Pandora or Last.fm) but, to date, I haven't really used these features on my phone. I suppose I'm just too proud to let my phone guess what I want to listen to. Either way, the features work, I just haven't used them in a while. Sorry.

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Here are some shots of the context menu that appears when you long press a song - I especially enjoy the offline feature. The "Now Playing" screen would display cover art if the artist I was listening to had cover art, but it turns out they didn't this time. That said, the 'Now Playing' screen is simple and functional, which is all you can ask for, and the ongoing notification is pretty much like any other music players. Note the Last.fm scrobbling, of which I am a fan. I really like the song queue drawer, as well:

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You also get some option to play with, but the app takes care of most things in the cloud:

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Just like any other music streaming app, low bitrate files will load faster but, as you may have guessed, not sound as good. Unchecking the "prefer low bitrate files" option is best for wifi

Overall, I think the Grooveshark Android app is totally awesome. The sound quality is a lot better than you'd expect from a music streaming app, to the point that it sounds like you have the songs stored locally on you phone. It's really quite impressive and I would easily recommend it to anyone who loves music.

The app is pretty young, though, and there are still some bugs. They've solved the majority of the issues in the most recent updates, but, as with anything written in code, strange bugs will linger on. I often get "Unknown media player error" when fast forwarding which, honestly, is less useful to me than a "check engine" light. How do I react to that? Despite that, the app still definitely holds its own and the Grooveshark team has done some impressive work since the app's inception. If you're not ready to take the dive (see what I did there?) just yet, this is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

You'd be a fool not to grab the Grooveshark App for Android here:

Grooveshark

Grooveshark gives you access to millions of songs, streamed right to your phone.

Brad Ganley
An Android power user, Brad consumes most of his free time with unhealthy amounts of cell phones and cell phone related things when he isn't playing with his son. Brad is also an avid movie-watcher and tea-drinker.
  • Gee

    It is without a doubt the best streaming app on Android. You also forgot one of it's main killer features: You can locally store/save any of the songs that you stream. How could you have missed that in your review?

    But you're right, there are still some annoying bugs; but once they sort those out - Spotify who?

    The HTML 5 web app is also mighty impressive AND FREE.

  • Tonedabone

    Pretty awesome app, but the $9, keeps me away. Would pay no more than ...$2.99 a month. Keep in mind, most want this for FREE! While we do understand that the devs need to eat too, but $9 a month?!?!

    • ChrisHD

      $9 does not pay for the app. The app itself is free. It's the service you are paying for. Not to mention all the artists who create the music your so intent on getting for free.

      $9 for all the music you could ever want is a damn good deal.

      • Tonedabone

        I know it is for the service, not that app. I also never mentioned I wanted it for free. I have tested app, and it is a lil buggy, which I never mentioned. So, let me say it in a different way ...I would pay less for a better app and equal service from a different provider. Also Kudos to the musicians & artists which create all the music I am intent on paying for, ...and getting for free heh.

  • Eggcake

    I pay 3$ a month... :P

    But I probably cancel the subscription. There are just too many bugs and streaming issues. Also on my home computer the stream often loads too slowly in the evening and this is just annoying. I get home, want to hear my favourite music and it doesn't work.
    And it's really annoying that you can't fast-forward in the Android app. Aaaand, syncing is also bugged (I don't get every playlist I made on my home computer...).

    So yes - it could be a good app, but I think it needs 1-3 months of work.

  • http://www.glowingpixel.com/ Michael Jordan

    As a long-time fan of Grooveshark (Grooveshark in Chrome's app-mode is my entire library on my linux box!), I grabbed the app a few months ago when they had a free trial. There were a couple of issues that made it kind-of not worth it to me:

    -3G streaming was lower-quality than Wifi
    -Not all of their music was available for mobile streaming

    Can anybody verify this is still the case? If I could get full high-quality streaming of their entire library via the android app, it would definitely be worth it. But for now Subsonic has been great.

  • OFI

    A little strange that it took for the service price to triple for this to make app of the week..

    Was tempted to continue my subscription before the increase but found it horribly unreliable on 3G a lot of time.

    At the $9 price point it is getting closer to that of Spotify or Napster isn't it?

    • Brad Ganley

      honestly I wasn't even aware of the price increase until i went back and edited the article. I'm paying $3.

  • portnoyd

    Since Grooveshark was free at one point and they want NINE LOL DOLLARS A LOL MONTH for it, I'm going to say... pass.

  • http://www.idesirehd.wordpress.com link777

    Tiny shark. Same database, free app. Try it

  • Michael

    You do know Grooveshark is operating an illegal service and doesn't have all the licenses required to do what they are doing. They are currently being sued by the recording industry and will be out of business at some point.

    • Brad Ganley

      Ok.