Behold, An iPhone App That Brings You Something Resembling “Pop Radio,” With No Annoying DJs

Nov 25th, 2008 // 5 Comments

Over the weekend, I ponied up $2.99 for an iPhone app called “Top 100 On iTunes,” which is powered by the “iTunes-freeing” company nutSie and which pretty much offers what the title says: A shuffling stream of what it claims are the iTunes Store’s top 100 tracks, a.k.a. the closest thing you’ll get to any sort of genre-spanning consensus regarding “popular music” these days. Pro: The streaming quality out in the wild (well, the wild streets of Manhattan, anyway) was really good, even for us old-school iPhone users who aren’t privy to AT&T’s 3G Network; there are also genre-specific versions of the app, in case you want to figure out just what the 99th-most-popular rock song right now might be. Con: Thanks to royalty issues, the playlist can only be shuffled, and not played in any sort of order specified by the user (although there is a “skip” button, thankfully). Odd: Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long” was on the list, despite its notorious unavailability on the service. Does this mean that “iTunes” has turned into a branded-generic a la “Xerox” and “Baggie”? [nutSie]

  1. Anonymous

    There was an article in the latest Spin about sound-alike tracks on itunes. I’m wondering if you were hearing the real kid rock version or the sound-alike. (and I realize that by asking this question it requires you to differentiate between 2 versions of a song that are complete ripoffs of 2 other songs)

  2. Maura Johnston

    @offthekolas: Yeah, we’ve written about Kid Rock’s (and Estelle’s) soundalike tracks in the past. Unfortunately, my skipping around this weekend didn’t reach “All Summer Long,” but it’s notable that the track is credited to Kid Rock, and not the Hit Masters.

    the old piece is here —
    [idolator.com]

  3. Audif Jackson Winters III

    Is that $2.99 for a month, or one-time download fee? The blackberry version is like 20 bucks.

  4. LiquidHeaven

    I don’t even understand how the service works. Why cant you arrange a playlist, how does that relate to royalties?

    How are the royalties arranged?

    I’d like to make an indie version of this. I’d still need deals with all the labels involved, no?

  5. Maura Johnston

    @LiquidHeaven: royalties paid out to record labels by companies for what’s considered ‘on-demand’/'interactive’ streaming — i.e., users pick the songs they hear — are higher than those that are programmed by another entity. to stretch the analogy, listening to a radio is less expensive than programming a jukebox. so nutsie is basically serving as a radio station, only with a playlist that one can scroll through.

    the app is pretty simple: you launch it and it goes into a shuffle of the playlist. unfortunately you can’t put it in the background, a la the iphone’s ipod app.

    @Audif Jackson Winters III: i’ve only been charged $2.99 so far…

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