I love music and when I was 15-18 nothing in the world was more exciting to me than a free CD. When I started reviewing albums at university and was given, yes *given* free CDs every week I couldn’t believe my good fortune and was pretty sure that I was the luckiest guy on the planet. Then in my second year we suddenly had unrestricted access to the internet and an amazing site called AudioGalaxy that seemed to have *all* the music in the world and lots of amazing Aphex Twin remixes all for free. Well illegally but what teenager cares about that. And you could buy 100 blank CDs for £14. As music piracy ran rampant it became very, very easy to take “free” music for granted. But it was also problematic – duplicates in iTunes, tagging issues, poor quality rips and such. The growth in streaming music services such as Spotify was brilliant – for a nominal sum you had access to CD quality music. But whilst it shines on the desktop, mobile Spotify is a bit of a road block for some people. You can’t access the app without a premium subscription – which at £10 a month is more than some people are willing to pay.
Enter Bloom. A new free iPhone app with a library of over 16 million tracks, legally licensed from leading major and independent record labels.
“From the very beginning we wanted to design Bloom specifically for mobile; to take advantage of the touchscreen with a unique interface that contributes to the user experience rather than take away from it. Music excites people and we think software should too!”
Thong Nguyen, Chief Technical Officer of Bloom.fm
Bloom takes a radio approach, so you can enjoy your favourite music with over 150 free genre based radio stations, covering tastes from Pop to Metal, and free ‘related artist’ radios. I’ve not seen any Tuuvan throat singing but everything else seems well covered.
Unlike the aforementioned Spotify, Bloom has a much more flexible mobile approach and has an odd ‘borrow, enjoy, return’ system that let you download and store a limited amount of music offline.
Bloom 20: for just £1 per month borrow and store up to 20 tracks at a time on your phone. You’re welcome to exchange these songs when you want something new.
Bloom 200: for £5 per month borrow and store up to 200 tracks at a time on your phone. Again, these 200 tracks can be exchanged at any time.
Full Bloom: the £10 per month premium subscription lets you borrow and store as many tracks as your phone can handle and also enjoy full on-demand streaming.
But Bloom is more than just a way to save a little. The interface is delightfully well designed and great for discovering related artists (again the Spotify desktop client it brilliant at this. The app … not so much). You hit a little button and the algothrim presents artists, albums or songs that promise more of the same – laid out in a deisgn nod to the classic iPod scroller. Borrowing albums or songs is a simple one-tap process and gives you offline access to songs.
“We are delighted to launch very encouraged by the industry-wide support – from the likes of Sony Music, Universal, EMI, Beggars, Orchard, PIAS, INgrooves and dozens more Indie labels – for our desire to bring a service to the UK consumer that is not only beautiful and easy to use, but also offers an amazing entry price of only £1 a month. We believe that Bloom.fm will excite millions of music lovers who find existing price points too high for their needs and we hope our fantastic discovery features will help everyone find a new favourite artist.”
Oleg Fomenko, Chief Executive Officer of Bloom.fm
Bloom.fm can be download here: Bloom.fm.