Some apps are worth the trouble. I’m still trying to determine if this is the case with Grooveshark for Android. As I said when Grooveshark updated its Android app, I was planning to give it a whirl. During the past few weeks I’ve used it pretty consistently, both on my Android and on the web. I’ve come away with a generally favorable impression, though the app certainly does have a number of issues that make me hesitant to continue paying even $3 per month for it. But chances are I will, given how much music it lets me play. For those unfamiliar, Grooveshark is — it’s hard to define exactly what it is. I came to know it because it let me play any song I wanted at any point, which was great for when I wanted to learn a song on guitar that I didn’t have on my computer. But after a while I started getting a bit more into it, realizing that while the web app doesn’t always run smoothly, it does allow me to play nearly any track I can imagine. So when I have an impulse to listen to an album I haven’t yet ripped to my computer, or an album I lost long ago, or even an album I’ve never had but have always wanted, I can just go to Grooveshark.com and search for it. The Android app works fairly well. you can discover songs by clicking on the Popular icon, but I’m sure most people who download it want to have more control over what they hear. This means extensive use of the search function. You can search by artist, song, or album, making it a bit easier. You can then add songs to a playlist or just play them a la carte. The problem I had here is adding an album to the playlist. Oftentimes I came across a 12-song album, but saw that 39 songs were in the queue. Yes, these are often repeats. Albums also aren’t always in the correct order. This is a pain for those who enjoy the album experience. My solution is the Boy Scout motto: be prepared. I basically don’t even search for music on my Android any more. I do everything through the web interface. This means creating playlists and editing them so that they have the proper songs in the correct order. I also greatly enjoy the offline option. This again works well with preparation. If I know I’ll be out of cell range — my gym, for instance, does not get cell reception — I’ll create a playlist on my computer and then open the Grooveshark Android app. From there I’ll select the playlist and make it available offline. Doing this over my Wi-Fi connection is faster than 3G. By doing this a few times I’ve built up quite a nice offline library. If there is one big complaint about the app, it’s how frequently it crashes. This usually happens when starting a new song or playlist, or backing out of the media player. The screen goes blank and the app freezes. A few moments later you get a dialog box asking if you want to force close or wait. Neither succeeds consistently. Force close doesn’t really close the app. It just restarts it and tries to put it back in a similar spot. That rarely prevents a crash. Thankfully, Grooveshark just released another update, and they claim that it will fix some of the crash issues. I’m not sure why this update only hit the Market today, but it’s something I’ll have to try before fully judging. I find it hard to recommend paid apps, especially subscription ones, when there are considerable flaws. Still, considering the alternatives I’m willing to deal with the $3 monthly charge in exchange for the amount of music Grooveshark provides. If the latest update prevents some of the crashes, it will be all the better. You can try it for free, too. Just download it from the Market to begin your VIP trial. Only after that expires do you have to decide whether or not to pay the $3 subscription fee.
Groovershark a bargain, but also a pain
Previous post: Get an extra tab in BlackBerry OS 5.0 with SecondTab
Next post: Geek Review: TuneIn Radio for BlackBerry