Radio is no longer just for cars. So suggests the emergence of radio apps, coming on the heels of the enormously successful
radio-for-your-iPod app TuneIn
. The latest ones offer streaming music services that range from retro and traditional to social and communal, but all share a quest to bring listeners back to a varied, yet programmed, music experience.
are the key concepts behind Jelli, an app that offers choosy listeners a collective, collaborative radio experience. Jelli provides a centralized portal for preexisting radio frequencies, putting a station’s playlist on display and giving listeners the opportunity to vote songs up or down in the rotation. This democratized approach takes the radio DJ out of the equation (as predicted by Tom Petty
); in essence, every track played is a request. Listeners also have the power to stop a song mid-play, turning traditional radio programming into a sort of Gong Show
for the airwaves (and striking fear into the hearts of Beliebers everywhere).
: Consumers who long for the radios of their childhoods will find comfort in Stereolizer, the app that turns one’s iPad into a 1980s stereo. Yet another example of the recent trend in retro-inspired packaging
, Stereolizer integrates hipster-friendly nostalgia with modern technology. The digital boombox
lookalike boasts a number of fun, if gratuitous, features. Users can tune to their station of choice using an old-school tuning needle (which, quite modernly, provides digital access not only to local frequencies but also to 6,000 global channels). They can also record their radio favorites to virtual mixtapes, a la 8tracks
, and save their collections for future listening.
: Music enthusiasts are no longer relegated to lonely indulgences such as rocking out in a car with the windows up. Outloud.fm encourages likeminded listeners to have a shared experience by allowing fans to get together in virtual “listening rooms.” Part chat room, part streaming music service, these rooms don’t actually draw from a radio frequency but instead let users upload their own music so that each room becomes a community “station” curated by its visitors. The app has been closely compared to Listening Room
(which features a slightly more complicated voting/gaming element), but unlike its predecessors, Outloud.fm is already open to the public.