NPR has released its second iPhone app. And while the first was understandably focused on NPR’s news programs and streaming audio from member stations, the new app is focused on music.
In a nutshell, the NPR Music app for iPhone makes it easy to access all of the content available on the NPR Music web site on an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. And that’s an awful lot of content. As the New York Times notes, the NPR Music web site has grown substantially over the past few years, and while many of the exclusive concerts and other content available on the site never actually go out over the radio, you can find an awful lot of excellent live performances on the web — or on an iPhone.
The NPR Music app also provides you with easy access to NPR member stations that do stream music. Believe it or not, public radio isn’t just filled with news and information programming. There are still a number of stations that stream jazz and classical music, and a growing number that also provide rock, folk, alternative, and other music.
There are also links to music-related news stories from NPR. For instance, on the home screen of the app today I found a link to listen to an NPR story about the 1 year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death.
What the NPR Music web site has become best known for is providing listeners with a chance to discover new music from artists they might not otherwise have heard about. And while there are recordings of live performances from mainstream acts like the Dave Mathews Band, odds are you’ll find an awful lot of music that you’re unfamiliar with if you spend some time browsing through the archive. And for the most part that’s a good thing, because while it might not be familiar, most of the songs and concerts available through the NPR Music app are definitely worth listening to.
The app supports multitasking in iOS 4 (if you have supported hardware), which means you can stream music in the background while doing other things with your phone. You can also create custom playlists out of stories, and programs.
The NPR Music app is available as a free download from iTunes.