Live365 is an interesting app that aims to bring you music and talk radio shared by “real people, powered by passion.” It sounds like one of these new social music services, but it’s a bit more professional than that. In order to broadcast a station on Live365, you have to pay. This takes the service a step above random people playing whatever they want, and brings a more professional selection of stations to listen to.
From the app description:
“Serious satellites and blah-FMs won’t play this music. Robot DJ’s pandering to the money can’t play this music. At Live365, thousands of DJs with something to say or something to play bring it 365 a year.”
Let’s take a look at how it holds up as an app…
The Live365 Android app brings more than 7,000 free online radio stations directly to your pocket or palm of your hand. It pulls from an extensive library of over 250 genres of music. They have everything from Roy Orbison, Pat Metheny, and Carlos Santana, to commercial and public radio stations and individual DJs who spin stations in their own unique styles.
The app brings its own unique style to your Android device, providing a simple, clean and clutter-free interface. Photos are used throughout to make it easy to spot what you need. No clicking on tiny text links or buttons in this app. The primary interface for locating music provides an option to search for a particular genre or artist; alternatively you can browse by genre.Buttons along the bottom of the main interface allow you to access the top stations and access your preset stations. In order to save a station as a preset, you need to create a free Live365 account. This can be done directly from the app, but does use an old-style sign-up process which requires you to click a link in a confirmation email. Not a major problem, but it does require a few extra steps to get going. It would have been simpler if the app let users sign up via Google, Facebook, or Twitter.
Once you’ve narrowed things down by searching for an artist/genre or browsing to a genre, you’ll see a list of stations that match your selection. The resulting list of stations gives you images for each one, a more detailed description of the genres played on those stations, and even the bitrate that each station is streaming at.
Listening to a Station
To tune in, simply tap the station you want – it begins playing immediately. You will recognize the basic interface for playing a station. It includes a main graphic which illustrates what station or artist is currently playing, along with basic controls along the bottom. The “now playing” screen features your standard play and stop buttons, as well as forward and back arrows which allow you to switch between the stations from your search results, related genres, or similar artists. A Share button lets you tell the world what you’re currently listening to via Facebook, Twitter, or email.
Immediately to the right of the sharing controls is a button that lets you interact with the station on a different level. You can buy or email a track to yourself, add the station to your presets, and tell the DJ of this station that you like or dislike the current track. All of these options require a free account with Live365.
A slider across the bottom provides quick and convenient access to your volume. You can flip between Station Info and Track/Artist Info using the button on the top right, and the Hide button on the top left takes you back to the main application navigation.
Hitting the Hide button allows you to drop back to the main navigation while your station continues to play in the background. A bar across the bottom reminds you what station that might be and tapping that bar takes you back to the “now playing” interface. From here, you can browse and search for other stations without interrupting playback.
The More option on the main menu allows you to log in or log out of your Live365 account, and to configure various settings:
- Listen Settings – This set lets you configure your Buffer, Streaming Mode, and Connection Quality settings. Tweaking these settings will help you get the smoothest playback based on your specific data connection and speed. The main setting you might tweak here is Connection Quality, which lets you choose from: Drive Mode, Solid 3G, Higher Audio Quality, and WiFi.
- Personalization - Customize the look and feel of your Live365 app. Set your default Startup Page (Play Last Station, Top Stations, My Presets, Search) and choose from 10 color themes (aqua, black, blue, etc.).
Overall, I really like Live365. The sheer number of different stations provided gives you the power to find exactly what you’re looking for. Doesn’t matter whether you’re into Sevendust, Lil Wayne, or talk radio; you’ll find what you want on Live 365. The interface is clean and makes good use of photos for navigation, which makes searching their enormous list of stations a breeze. It’s definitely worth creating a free account with Live365 in order to buy tracks you like, interact with the DJs, and set up preset stations.
The primary thing I would like to see is a Live 365 widget, to give quick access to launch stations and to control the app. It would also be cool to see the account sign-up process made a little simpler – though it’s not a deal-breaker to have to jump to your email to confirm your account. As for the competition, Live365 will definitely have content you will not find with apps like TuneIn Radio or Pandora. Definitely a worthy addition to your audio arsenal.