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FingerListen: On-demand MP3s for the iPhone

FingerListen is a web application that lets you listen to mp3s on your iPhone. Simply search for an artist and it will generate a playlist of songs, sourced from blogs across the web. At the moment it’s pretty basic, but it still provides access to thousands of songs in an iPhone compatible format and works seamlessly with background audio and remote controls.

Features

  • Listen to (almost) any band on your iPhone
  • Continue browsing/using apps while a playlist plays in the background
  • Automatically pauses if you get a phonecall, play a song or watch a video
  • Play/Pause using built in audio controls (Double tap + swipe right)
  • Get suggestions or your favourite bands from Last.fm
  • Filtered results, placing studio songs first, followed by covers, live recordings and remixes
  • Links to the blog which posted each song
  • Free.

The Future

This application is in very early development, with LOTS to come. Leave your suggestions in the comments and they will be seriously considered. Here’s what’s already on the radar:

  • Radio Mode – Start with one band and listen to an automatic playlist of similar bands
  • Playlists – Build playlists from multiple bands and share them with friends
  • Background Loading – Fetch songs in the background to improve loading times

FingerListen has also evolved into two new projects: Fingerfy and FMnest. Expect to see a lot of shared features as these projects are developed.

The Fine Print

  1. This app is an EXPERIMENT. It uses a brand new feature in Safari that is still a little buggy.
  2. MP3s aren’t always optimized for streaming. If it finds a large mp3, it might have a hard time playing it smoothly. Either pause the song for a bit, to let it buffer, or try another song.
  3. Playback works better on WiFi than 3G
  4. If you are using 3G, please be careful not to use exceed your data limit! Usage varies, but 1mb per minute is a good estimate.

Supported Devices / Programs

Safari on iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad with iOS4
Safari on Windows / Mac
Google Chrome
Android – Untested
Firefox – DOES NOT ALLOW MP3s – more here.

Known Issues

Although the app does work quite well, you may occasionally face some of the following issues:

  • Playback becomes jittery, then the song restarts – This seems to be a problem for other apps too and hopefully will be fixed by Apple
  • Player says ‘Streaming’ instead of a progress meter – Usually means it couldn’t get the required information from the song. Sometimes it will play, other times it won’t. If in doubt.
  • The playlist is slow to load (4-5 seconds) – This is a necessary evil, in order to check each mp3 and remove dead links. In the future, this will hopefully be done in the background.
  • Doesn’t automatically move to the next song – This happens occassionally when multitasking. I am looking into what causes it and whether it is fixable
  • Blog links are to the home page, not the exact post – This is beyond my control. I can only link to the home page.
  • No songs found – The more popular an artist, the more likely it is to find their songs. It also doesn’t search the WHOLE internet, so occassionally songs are missed. Hopefully this will improve soon.
  • Skipping tracks with the audio controls only works when Safari is the active app.

These will be improved over time. If would like to wait for a more stable version, sign up to the mailing list below to be notified of a new release.

Credit

Last.fm – For generating similar and favourite artist lists
Echonest – For finding mp3s from across the interwebs

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