There always comes a time when you get tired of ad-cluttered commercial radio and decide to knock together your own series of digital mixtapes – and luckily, the sheer amount of readily-available mix software can make anyone feel like a kid in the proverbial candy shop. There also comes a time when you want to venture outside your music library and crank up an ad-free radio equivalent – free to use and offering plenty of variety.
In the knowledge that more and more outlets for musical creativity and interaction become reality in our mobile app-saturated environment, let’s have a look at an app that lets you stream assorted music content… to your heart’s content.
The go-to page for homemade DJ mixes, London-based Mixcloud has gained significant prominence as a free on-demand music radio platform since its launch in 2009. This year, the company bowed to the ever-prescient mobile demands by launching its own app – and here it is now, finally available for Android after establishing itself in the iPhone/iPad domain.
Operating on a ‘cloud’ principle, the Mixcloud app allows you to stream your favourite podcasts, DJ mix sets and radio talk shows direct to your Apple or Android device of choice. It is essentially designed to resemble a version of App Store for DJ mixes and podcasts – except you don’t pay for anything.
While anyone can sign up for Mixcloud and upload their mixes and podcasts to the website for others’ listening pleasure (a few good friends of mine are avowed followers of that practice), the listeners in turn sign up and collectively maintain a range of preferences – thus making sure relevant content gets posted on a regular basis.
Like the best of them, the app boasts a no-frills layout, with a neat, ad-free home screen displaying four dedicated buttons: Hot, Categories, Favourites and Profile. Hot speaks for itself: it’s what’s really cooking, according to other users. Here, you can stream DJ sets, search stations by category and scan previously marked favourites. You can also check to the artists’ pages and “heart” mixes or shows you’ve liked (instantly adding them to your Favourites list) – again, just like with the best music apps out there.
Signing up within the app is super-easy – via Facebook login or the good old-fashioned email address & password method. Additionally, you can sync whatever you listen to on Mixcloud – mixes, podcasts, radio shows etc – with your last.fm account.
As I may have already hinted earlier, it’s available for free from the App Store. The next logical step for the Mixcloud app developers would be allowing users to create and upload mixes from their mobile device – but how soon they’ll do that is what we’d really like to know.