Monday, February 9, 2009

Software Review: OurStage Radio Application for the iPhone

Do you like indie music and the alternative concert scene? Do you like to find new artists all of the time? Interested in checking out new genres that are similar to the ones that you already like? If so, then the new application “OurStage Radiofrom OurStage is what you are looking for.

OurStage Radio is an application that allows you to interact with music on your iPhone (or iPod Touch over Wi-Fi) in a whole new manner. You can search for new and independent music under any genre you like. You can search for your favorite artists and find music similar to theirs. OurStage Radio will even recommend and help you discover songs that you might like (which you can then rate, allowing it to learn what you really do like). While I am not a large fan of indie music, OurStage Radio even helped me to find some new bands which I am now interested in.

OurStage Radio has several nice and interesting feature which differentiate it from the other streaming radio applications that are available on your iPhone. The interface and general layout is a nice feature of this application. All of your options, choices, and desires are clearly labeled and can easily be found. The only difficulty with this is the fact that sometimes it takes some time to move from one to another, which makes you think that you did not hit the button properly. As OurStage Radio also allows you to use it without an account (though nothing is then saved), you are able to experience a large range of indie music even if you do not want to register.

The ability to have favorites and keep music for future reference (say, when you buy it on iTunes) is another nice feature. By allowing personal play lists of any type of music, artist, or general genre the user feels far more enticed and the interface seems more usable. My favorite part of these features is the recommendation tab. OurStage Radio nicely allows all users to search for any and every type of music that they are interested in. Select your favorite styles (from acoustic to heavy metal, from rap to folk) and click the recommend button. Soon after, you will start to experience some fun new music selections. Once you get a small number of ratings done, OurStage Radio then quickly will funnel out the unliked types and start giving you exactly what you want. After only about 30 minutes with OurStage Radio, I was able to get music and bands that I loved, which I then promptly went out to buy.

As with any application on the iPhone, or really any software, there are some problems with OurStage Radio. My first issue is really the biggest: it is so darn slow. I can understand a slow download and upload speed over an extended network, and even over the 3G network, but over Wi-Fi I cannot see any reason for the application to be that slow. I hope that this is merely a server issue and thus easily fixed, as opposed to one with the actual coding. The switching, starting, and rating of songs is slow and it makes it feel rather work-intensive to get through the less appealing music. Once you get to the songs you like, however (after about 30 minutes of rating), the system works fairly well as it just needs to download the songs once every four minutes or so

Another con with the OurStage Radio application is how much time it takes to start up. The application not only slowly loads songs, but it also takes roughly 30 seconds or so to boot up and start downloading that first song. This does irk me, as sometimes I want music right away. Also, this leads to some instabilities in the application itself. When downloading or uploading over a slower network, the application is prone to crashing. Even after restarting the iPhone (as Apple recommends), the application crashes or takes a fairly long time to do anything. This seems to be random, however, as sometimes I will get four crashes in a row and then nothing else for a few days.

What I Want To See
I would like to see two new features added to OurStage Radio. First is the ability to purchase the songs that you like on iTunes. Imagine being able to search for a style of music you like, listening to it, loving an artist, and then being immediately able to get it off of iTunes. This would both broaden the user base and allow the artists who use OurStage to be able to make more money off of it.

Additionally, I would also like to see (if this is allowed by Apple) the ability for the music to continue even after the application is closed. Using the built-in music player, I am able to surf the Web, check e-mail, and text without my music finishing. With OurStage Radio, the music stops playing immediately after I close the application. If it is allowed, I would love to see this update.

OurStage Radio is a good application that just has some growing pains. Due to its instability (at times) and the slower downloading speeds, I am forced to give it only 3.5/5 stars; however, with plans to update it roughly every other week, I expect OurStage Radio to quickly become a more stable and much, much better iPhone Radio application.

No comments:


You will be redirected shortly to our new website. If you are not redirected within 5 seconds please CLICK HERE!

Copyright Notice

(C) All articles, postings, images, etc. on this site are protected by relevant copyright law, unless otherwise specified. To use any original material in totality please ask for author permission.

(C) 2009, all rights reserved by, Robert M. Barga, and all contributing authors.