doubleTwist needs little introduction really. Charting over 10 million downloads from the Google Play Store, it's without question one of the finest and most popular music players available on the Android platform. The ability to interact with Apple's iTunes and Airplay services provides a path many iTunes users rely upon to manage their music on their Android device with minimal fuss. Besides the iTunes integration, doubleTwist also offers -- albeit via in-app purchases -- a range of add-ons such as full podcast support, an equalizer and high quality artwork.
Today, doubleTwist launches their latest add-on package, Magic Radio, their answer to a music streaming service. Subscriptions to Magic Radio cost just $3.99 per month through Google Wallet and come with a 7 day free trial, so you get a good chance to put it through its paces before committing your money. But, the music streaming space already has some heavy hitters with the like of Sony, Spotify and Rdio all having their own offerings. Does Magic Radio have enough to provide a compelling experience? We've been playing with it for a few days now, and the tl;dr version is this; It's really good. Well designed, well executed and pretty good value for money. However, the Magic Radio approach may not be for everyone. So, click on past the break and we'll take a look.
doubleTwist Magic Radio video walkthrough
In some respects, Magic Radio is very similar to Spotify's Radio service. It's all about discovery, serving up music which it thinks you'll like based upon your indicated tastes. The first difference though is the price. Spotify Radio requires you to be a premium customer, which carries a $9.99 montly price tag. Magic Radio is also a subscription service, but costs just $3.99 per month. OK, so you're not choosing set albums and tracks to listen to, but it isn't that expensive.
You're not asked to pay straight away though, Magic Radio comes with a 7 day free trial to see whether it's right for you. And you know what? It's a really great service. Magic Radio can tune custom stations based upon pretty much anything. Your currently active playlists within the doubleTwist app, an artist, a song, a genre, or even just words. And, as you're listening to the music you can quickly highlight new artists or songs to base a station from if you like what you hear.
Purchasing songs you like is taken care of through a partnership with 7Digital, so you will need an account there to buy anything. But, how many songs are available through Magic Radio? doubleTwist claims a library of over 13 million songs, and because it's subscription based, there are no advertisements.
So, it's all good then? Nearly. First up Magic Radio is a U.S. only product right now, likely due to the usual licensing issues that go along with anything involving music. Secondly is that the app update to v 2.0 seems to remove internet radio as an option, at least in the U.S. anyway. I've verified it's still there when downloaded from the UK Play Store, yet the version tested with Magic Radio definitely doesn't have it. Not everyone is going to be too happy about that.
Magic Radio isn't necessarily everyone's bag, but it is a fantastic service. Literally, not once during testing has it thrown in a song that hasn't been the sort of music I usually listen to. That's impressive. Magic Radio is available today via an update to the main doubleTwist application, and is available to download in the Google Play Store right about now.