It happens every time, without fail. I’ll write about a streaming music service for BlackBerry, since streaming music is the my No. 1 requirement or a mobile device, and someone will mention that Grooveshark is better. It provides access to far more songs than other platforms, and for just $3 per month. That’s an affordable fee, so I decided to give it at try. Thankfully, Grooveshark comes with a free trial for its VIP service, so I was able to walk through the app with ease.
To download the Grooveshark Mobile app, go to m.grooveshark.com from your BlackBerry browser. That will take you right to the download page. Click the link, and you’ll be set. When you run the application you’ll have to create an account if you don’t have one already. Once you’re logged in you’ll be asked to start the VIP trial. If you don’t say yes you won’t be able to access the mobile app. But, since it doesn’t require payment information up front, there’s no risk in trying it. Warning: I tried to play a number of tracks using the trial, but kept getting an error. I wasn’t sure if that had to do with the tracks or my trial status, so I opted to pay the $3 fee for a month of service. I was then able to play the tracks in question.
The only way to find music in the Grooveshark for BlackBerry app is by searching. Enter in what you want to find, and Grooveshark will return artists and songs that match. That can make for an unwieldy list, and I often found that the band I sought did not appear. In other words, finding music within the app can be a pain, and you might not find exactly what you’re seeking. Since the entire point of Grooveshark is to listen to songs when you want them, I’d say the lack of a discovery feature hurts the app. It’s a shame, too, because the Android application includes a few more features that would be welcome on the BlackBerry one. These include a list of popular songs and streaming radio stations. As usual, BlackBerry is left behind on this one. The only positive I can take from the search feature is that you can drill down a bit. Hit the menu button on any song and you can view the album it’s on, more songs by that artist, and albums by the artist. There is also an option for similar artists and songs, but I found those unhelpful. For instance, when I clicked similar artists for one of my favorite punk bands, Bad Brains, it suggested Kid Rock. Vocalist H.R. would probably be thrown into a violent rage were he privy to this classification. I actually suggest finding music and creating playlists on Grooveshark.com. It’s much easier to find music that way; you can enter a search term and then click on a result to get artist, song, or album. Once you create those playlists you can play them through the BlackBerry app. This seems like the optimal usage for the Grooveshark app. It took too much time to work up playlists from the device itself.
Perhaps the greatest feature of Grooveshark is the ability to play songs when you’re out of cell signal range. If you want to listen to a playlist while offline, just click menu on it and select Add Playlist to local storage. You’ll then see a green lightning bolt icon next to it and a green progress bar under it. You can do this for individual songs, too, by clicking menu and selecting Allow Offline Playback. Why the same option is worded two different ways I do not know. If you’re going to use the offline feature, I suggest getting a sizable memory card. Again, I find it to be the best feature of the app, and I don’t like removing songs from my offline playlist.
Everything else in this application is self-explanatory. By now everyone knows how to use an audio player, etc. If there is significant demand I’ll expand this review to include the easier features. But I think that, for now, my list of complaints will be more helpful. 1) Some songs just did not play. There is no indication, but sometimes when you try to play a track you’ll get an error. This seems to be tied to artists and albums, since it happens an album at a time for me. 2) On my CDMA BlackBerry the app doesn’t handle calls well at all. If I get a call or text message, the song stops playing. This is normal. With other streaming apps, though, the song continues after a few seconds. Grooveshark requires you to restart. If you hit pause and then play, it skips to the next song. There is no way to pick up where you left off. 3) Songs skip regularly. Some skip right to the next song. If you get a “The requested song cannot be played” error, you have to click OK and then quickly hit pause, or else it will keep trying to play another track. 4) The delay between tracks is beyond annoying. On the web app there is a seamless transition from track to track. The mobile app should be able to do this, too, by loading a portion of the next song. Even on playlists it does not do this. That’s quite obnoxious when listening to an album that features between-song transitions.
Getting what you pay for
Even considering the complaints, it’s tough to downrate the Grooveshark app too badly. It does, after all, give you access to far more tracks than Rhapsody for less than a third of the monthly price. There are certainly issues with the app, though considering the updated version Android recently got, I think we could soon see one for Android. That would change the equation a bit. You can check out more information on Grooveshark at http://mobile.grooveshark.com/blackberry. If you want to download the app, go to m.grooveshark.com from your BlackBerry browser. I’d suggest setting up an account on the main website rather than the app. That seemed to make things a bit easier.