Who doesn’t like free? And who doesn’t like great iPad apps? When the two come together it’s good stuff. With that in mind, we’d like to share our Best Free iPad App of the Week here every weekend.
This week’s pick is NPR Music for iPad, which offers a superb mix of music from a range of good genres, music news, articles, reviews, interviews, live concerts and exclusive streams and lots more. The App Store page for NPR Music touts it as ‘your guide to new music’ and ‘love at first listen’. And happily, the app nicely lives up to those big promises.
Here are a few of the key features of the app:
- Multi-genre music content, with news, music streams, live concerts and interviews organized by genre.
- Live music streams from more than 100 public radio stations, handpicked by the country’s best DJs. Browse by genre and set favorites.
- A searchable artist directory of content from over 5,000 bands, musicians and singers, including interviews, reviews, performances, features and news from the NPR Music archives.
- Editor picks for top stories in each genre, with tools to share new discoveries and purchase featured music.
- Signature programs and popular series, such as All Songs Considered, World Cafe, First Listen, Song Of The Day and Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz.
- Updated daily. Hundreds of new music stories added monthly.
- Customizable playlist.
- create your own custom playlists for offline listening.
The UI of the app takes a little getting used to – it’s a magazine style layout that, for me, could do with having a little better flow to it. But it’s still attractive and well worth getting around as there is just tons of great content to enjoy.
There’s a good group of featured radio stations you can listen to in the app, covering genres like Rock, Jazz, Classical, Hip-Hop/R&B, Folk, World, and Electronic/Dance.
The Programs section is full of cool programs like Song of the Day, Favorite Sessions (exclusive performances from public radio stations), Tiny Desk Concerts (musicians recorded live in the NPR music office), NPR Music Live (concert recordings from venues and festivals across the country), 50 Great Voices (stories of awe-inspiring voices from around the world) and more. Each of these offer a great opportunity to discover new music and artists.
Just as one quick example, yesterday I discovered a fun garage punk band from Puerto Rico called Davila 666 in the Favorite Sessions section.
The search bar in the app gets great results too. For instance, a search for Florence + The Machine lead to an excellent NPR interview with Florence Welch, a great live acoustic set, and a concert video link.
There’s just so much great stuff in this app that it’s easy to spend hours discovering great new music or more in-depth content. It’s a great all-day companion for me – with its ability to run in the background and AirPlay support if I feel like streaming it via Apple TV.
Here’s an App Store link for NPR Music; it’s a universal app designed to run on both iPad and iPhone.
If you’re after more great free iPad apps, be sure to check out our previous choices for Best Free iPad of the Week.