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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
- Vast Music Selection
- Saves Onboard Memory
- Great Audio Quality
- Connection Spotty
- Lack of User Friendly Controls
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. **