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Thumbplay Music Store for BlackBerry Review

CrackBerry Idol - Matthew
By Kevin Michaluk on 10 Jul 2010 11:04 pm EDT
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Review of Thumbplay Music Store for BlackBerry Smartphones


Streaming Music is now as much as part of the BlackBerry Culture as e-mail, BBM, and track pads. Personally I use my BlackBerry more than any other source for music. Having a great music application, for many, is really a need and not just a want. Thumbplay introduced their own version of streaming music/music store just a little while ago and CrackBerry has given a lucky few some free three month subscription. Promising effortless playlist creation from millions of tracks, access to any album and artist, and wireless sync with you PC or Mac make this app look like a contender. In a world dominated by internet streaming radio for your BB device with great apps like Pandora, iHeart Radio, an app like Thumbplay might get overlooked, but this app should be on your radar.

The App

Thumbplay offers BlackBerry users a 3 day free trial for their subscription based application because they feel that their product will sell itself. For $9.99 per month you have access to literally any song by any artist. Their database is unlimited, and offers on demand access to your favorite songs or the hot new album in stores. Thumbplay even offers its own in app music player.

Thumbplay for BlackBerry

It's super easy to search and find exactly what you looking for. You can find music by artist, song, album, or genre. A great way to fully explore the database is to look at the similar artists. If you're looking for new music you can use Thumbplay's Playlist Gene and instantly generate a customized recommendation list based on your favorite songs.

Thumbplay's key features include online and offline access. This means you can listen to you songs even when you're not able to access Wi-Fi or you carrier's data service. Many users will love how easy it is to create play lists, bookmark and save their favorite artist, albums, and songs. Whenever you find an album or song just click select add to your playlist or save and it's done.

Thumbplay for BlackBerry

The Favorites takes your standard playlist to the next level. You can designate an artist, album or song as a favorite and have instant access to it in your my Music Page (accessible from the start up screen for easy access)

Thumbplay for BlackBerry

First Impressions

My Experience with this app seems very enjoyable upon first impressions. I have Pandora and at least 1 gig of music already on board my device so I abuse my BlackBerry and my in car Blue Tooth and can really test this app. I opened up the app and was a little confused at first from the "home screen" but soon found my way around. To get rolling I searched for an artist (Jay-Z) and then viewed the available albums. After I located the latest album (The Blueprint III) I made it my first favorite and now have access to it by virtue of just a few clicks. The My Music Feature is the biggest reason to keep the app. Once the music you love is bookmarked its quick to get to it, the music seems to load faster and it very closely resembles actually having the music saved on your device.

My free trial runs for three days, which is plenty of time for me to divulge this app, and see if it deserves $9.99 per month from my hard earned cash reserve. That's the same as I pay for Netflix so this app has some proving to do to warrant such a commitment. The in app media player looks great, and is similar to what I have come to expect, but there were a few issues with the controls. First the app lags a few seconds between songs when I skip or the songs change automatically, though on Wi-Fi the time is greatly reduced. My next gripe may seem small but is a big deal to me and many other users, is that the Blackberry Device Mute/Pause key (so easily accessible on the top on the device) does not work in the Thumbplay music player. I use this feature on the device music player, video player and browser. Other than these two drawbacks, the experience so far has been superb and I was rocking great new music and NOT taking up any more space on my device. More space means more great apps and pictures.

A Few Days Later

First impressions are vital to an app's success rate of staying on your device, but to me the longer I have an app on my BlackBerry the more my love-hate meter really moves. I still use the app daily and my minor issues are still just annoying little disturbances, nothing about this app is a major technical issue. I have read other reviews and many are very tough on the connectivity Thumbplay has with your network. I have had at least three instances in one week's time where I had to shut the app down because it simply would not stay connected or connect at all despite full bar 3G coverage. On Wi-Fi it only had that issue once. The speed the app runs is always ok, sometimes great, but never terrible and the general sound quality is just as good as Pandora, basically no complaints here. I have purchased a few songs and the downloading time is not ideal, but the app pauses and resumes the download automatically, so eventually you'll get the goods, and the store offline feature is much quicker and in my opinion a better way to travel if this is an app you are going to subscribe to.

Pros:

  • Vast Music Selection
  • Saves Onboard Memory
  • Great Audio Quality

Cons:

  • Connection Spotty
  • Lack of User Friendly Controls

Final Word:

This app has been a blast for the past week and a three day free trial is plenty of time to base an objective feel for the app's worth, but at $9.99/month it better be a darn good app. The spotty connectivity and the slow load times even with 3G and Wi-Fi lead me to believe that the cost is too much. If the subscription was half of what it currently is I bet I would rock it at least a little longer. If you're a music fan take the 3 day trial, it's quick, easy, and you can see this app for yourself. But overall the concept is great but it falls short of expectation.

I give this app 3 out of 5 CrackBerry icons.

** This review was written as part of the CrackBerry Idol 2010 competition. Click for details. **

Reader comments

Thumbplay Music Store for BlackBerry Review

11 Comments

Kevin (aka Ryan Seacrest): I was excited to see you choose the Thumbplay Music Store for your review choice Matthew. It's one we've talked about a few times on the blogs here, but have yet to given it a real CrackBerry style walk through. Let's see how the judges liked your review....

CrackBerry Idol Judges

Dieter: All around good review, dawg. Video was on the long side, but you made it work and covered the app in depth. Written review was also well done. The CrackBerry Idol competition is heating up. I think you have what it takes to move on, but to make it to the finals and have a shot at winning you'll really want to wow us with a really striking and memorable review.

Georgia: Hi Matthew, I really enjoyed the introduction to the video review. I like how you also mentioned for people to come take a look at your written on CrackBerry.com, very smart! You covered the many aspects of the application but it was a bit long at over 6 minutes. You did a fabulous job on the written review. It was very easy to read and flowed well from one sentence to the next. I liked the first impression of the application and the three days later impression, a interesting twist. Good job, hope you stay with us for the next leg of the race.

Craig: This was a great video and a great written review. You covered everything so well in both. I'm really impressed. One gripe would be that your video aspect ratio was way off. Maybe you can correct this next time?

I think it was a pretty good review. However, there were two things I didnt like. First, the introduction part of the video. You really didnt look or sound like you wanted to do the review. The rest of the video was pretty good and you pointed out the basic (and most important) functions nicely.
Second, I feel like you should have mentioned that the app only works in the US. It's almost a given with any sort of music app but it's still worth mentioning in the review.
Other than that solid review. Good job!

Yeah i had problems cracking up during the intro. I def took time to put my "game face" on and do this right. After your comment I watched the video again and laughed at my seriousness. I have read a few people's reviews throught the Idol process and I knew someone would point out that I didn't know the app is only avaliable in the US. Chaulk that up to genuine American Ignorance. I am always ammazed at CracBerry.com's international appeal.

I am a foreigner so I can not use Pandora because it wonly works in the US, so i am limited to Slacker or Thumbplay.

Which one you think works better?

Thanks

Well I am not aware exactly what is avaliable outside the US, however if you have the choice between the two my vote goes to slacker radio. Thumbplay is a great app, but slacker has a free version and if you opt for features like offline listening, the subscription is only $4.99 monthly or $47.88 if you pay upfront for the year. Thumbplay is better only in the fact that you can listen to entire albums just like you own it.

I don't think the video was too long. You covered the app in detail which is great. The written review is in depth and easy to read. Nice job.

We are lagging behind in technology right now. We can do better with download speeds in every type of network, ya know!

Rovi from Kinsta Music

I think it was all done well. The beginning was a little dry and took a tiny bit to get into the flow. Pointing out the flaws with controls was a nice thing to see in the video - made it much easier to understand what was the minor flaw with the app (maybe ThumbPlay will see the review and work on it). The rest of the review was also well done (written & video). Nice review!

Matthew, this is the best review so far (in my opinion). Although I will agree the video is too long for most people's internet attention span, the written review has a nice flow.

I also like that you chose an app most people don't know about. Good call there.

I foresee a new CB post comparing the big streaming audio players (hint, hint to Kevin and crew).

Best wishes in the voting round!