Music discovery app Shazam has always been a bit stylish by Android standards, but today's update adds both some more modern visual polish and notable usability upgrades. In particular, the auto-scrolling lyric function has been improved in version 2.6: it now supports a more natural portrait layout and much more readable text, doing away with the funky word art. Auto-scroll isn't universal, but when it works it's pretty neat. That should be a boon to your impromptu karaoke sessions.
One of the worst things about managing music playlists is adding new songs when we hear them. Sure, once we've identified them, we can always track the song down by name, but that can turn into a lot of manual labor. If we've learned anything from the popularity of music subscription services, it's that we want things to be quick, simple, and convenient. Rdio and Shazam agree, and they are doing something about it.
Spotify made news earlier today by lowering its barrier to entry, allowing users to stream music to their phone or tablets for free. Yet it isn't the only music-streaming service in town, and competitor Rdio has expanded access to 20 additional countries. This brings the total number of supported territories up to 51, which this handy map illustrates.
Even if you're not paying for Rdio's streaming music service, you can now get your groove on with the mobile app. In an effort to attract more users from Spotify and Pandora, Rdio has made its personalized radio streaming service free in the app. The new feature goes live later today with an app update in Google Play.
Rdio has 10 different station types, including those based on artists, genres, songs, and the hyper-personal "You FM." There's no offline caching, and you can't queue up specific songs, but Rdio does have over 20 million tracks to pull into the radio stations.
Streaming music provider Rdio might be playing second fiddle to Spotify, but it's still a viable option. Rdio even runs its own video content store called Vdio. With a handy little coupon code, you can get a taste of both services, or add some freebies you your existing account.
To get your free stuff, just head over to the Rdio redeem page, and enter the code P4KFEST2013. This should give you 3 free months of Rdio Unlimited ($9.99 per month) and $25 to spend on Vdio instantly.
At the start of this review, I was simultaneously excited and frustrated. Now I'm just plain excited. For a bit of context, I have been bouncing between cloud music services since Lala was still a thing. I had one simple desire: I wanted to pay a monthly fee for unfettered access to a large library of content, but still wanted to be able to bring my own. I know that $10/month is not going to get me every song in existence, but if I can pay for most music, and then supply the rest, I'll be happy.
As if there weren't enough contenders out there for music subscription service, Slacker Radio has updated its business model. You can still get the standard ad-supported radio station features that were always available. However the company has added a Spotify-like buffet option for $10/month. Pony up the dough and you can remove all ads and listen to as many tracks as you want.
The combination is pretty powerful, as one of the biggest complaints over Spotify is its discovery problems.