8tracks - A Mango app review
As described over at the Windows Phone Marketplace, 8tracks is a handcrafted internet radio for your Windows Phone. The Mango app offers a simple way to discover and share music through an online mix that contains at least eight tracks of music. The eight is actually the infinity symbol ( ∞ ), representing infinite music but "eight" is easier to type.
The 8tracks concept is rather interesting. You sign up for a free membership (here's their website), upload your favorite tunes in mixes (playlist for us old timers), and add them to 8tracks collection for all to enjoy. The Windows Phone app, taps into this collection and brings the mix to your phone.
The 8tracks app lays things out rather nicely with the ability to listen to established music mixes, create your own mix, as well as search the online library by artist or genre.
To see how well 8tracks performs, hit the jump past the break.
8tracks main hub is laid out with:
Home Page: Here's where you can browse the mixes, login into your 8tracks account, view your mix feed and read about the app. Your mix browsing will pull up pages for the popular mixes, hot mixes, and new mixes.
History Page: Here's where you'll see your mix listening history.
Featured Page: 8tracks will pick half a dozen mixes they like and recommend them to you.
Genre Page: If you want to browse the mixes by Genre, this page offers 21 genres ranging from country to reggae.
For those wanting to search by keyword or genre, there is a search button at the bottom of the screen to pull up a search field. Each mix will have a description (sometimes rather colorful), tags describing the content, and a page of listener comments. You can "like" the mix or add your own comments as well.
At the bottom of the mix page, a three button menu will display your track history for that particular mix and mix author credits. In tapping a specific track, you'll launch your browser to Amazon.com where you can purchase the track. Shame it couldn't send you to the Zune Marketplace where you could use your ZunePass (hint, hint, wink, wink, nudge, nudge)
I've tinkered with 8tracks for about a day now and have to say that I'm impressed with the apps design and content. Music is a wide mixture of artists from local talent that not many have heard of to headlining artists that are well known. Artist such as Pink Floyd, Alan Jackson, Stevy Ray Vaughn and the Beatles. I think everyone can find at least one mix that fits their music tastes on 8tracks.
The app has the ability to run in the background and under a lock screen. 8tracks also has Zune integration in that player controls (pause/play only) appear on the lock screen. Music streaming was very smooth and the quality of the music was very good from the headsets as well as from the Windows Phone speaker. The only downside that I can find so far is that while you can advance to the next track in the mix, I didn't see any controls to replay a track in the mix (hint, hint). There is also a skip limit but the quality of the music helps you forget about that limitation.
Oh, one more thing. While you can view a track history as you play your way through the mix, I couldn't find a way to view the tracks in advance. It adds a little suspense into the mix but it would be nice to preview what tracks are in a particular mix. Still, while I'd like to see some changes to 8tracks, as is the app ain't bad at all.
8tracks is a free, Mango app that does have some ad support. If you're looking for a very nice streaming music player for your Windows Phone and are running Mango, 8tracks is worth a look. If you're not running Mango, write the apps name down for future reference.
You can find 8tracks here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.
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George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.