Last.fm for iPhone review

A million formats lived and died on AM and FM radio. But news of the niche format’s death was slightly exaggerated. Album-oriented rock, classical, bluegrass, free-form progressive, surf rock and punk didn’t really die at all. Some interesting music migrated to satellite. The rest moved to the Internet. To music lovers for whom a 160GB iPod classic is still disappointingly small, Internet radio gives the iPhone and iPod touch an unlimited capacity for music.

Assuming that Internet radio survives the latest salvos from copyright holders, satellite and cable providers, iPhone and iPod touch users have excellent options. Internet radio offer users a vast selection of content, from mainstream commercial fare to more eclectic offerings and b-sides so obscure even the original artists have forgotten them.

OUR VERDICT

Last.fm has plenty of virtues, such as the ability to create and share playlists easily. Unlike Pandora (which is not available in the UK), Last.fm displays a song’s running time. Users can also buy songs from iTunes. Like Pandora, Last.fm is also free, though it’s also more labour-intensive, requiring the user to input their favourite artists. Last.fm’s appealing extras undermine the app’s stability. Clicking buttons for similar artists and artist-related events, for example, caused the app to lock up several times on a 3G phone. And buffering times are a huge drawback with Last.fm. Songs are simply slower to load on a Wi-Fi connection compared with Pandora, where the transitions from one song to the next are virtually seamless.

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