Review by Andrew Kameka on Tuesday March 12, 2013.
|Sponsored links, if any, appear in green.|
Pandora isn't short on rivals, but the streaming music service just got another one in doubleTwist, the desktop and Android music app that today launched Magic Radio. Available now as part of an update to the doubleTwist app, Magic Radio is a streaming music service that uses the songs in a music library to build new personalized radio stations. Listeners can then refine each station's playlist by banning undesirable songs and adjusting the Tuner to have faster or slower songs, or change how many new artists appear using the "Explore" slider.
Magic Radio has more than 13 million songs available to stream, and it incorporates music stored on the phone to gain a better sense of how to balance familiarity and discovery. In addition to creating stations based on stored music playlists, users can also create stations based on a genre, mood, or word. The word search can sometimes be problematic. I'm a fan of traditional Chinese music, so searching for the word "China" created a station that started with the kind of music I'd like to hear - relaxing and full of melodies played by the erhu and piano. Unfortunately, it also included English-language electronic dance music that completely ruined the mood. There are cases where creating playlists based on a word makes more sense, like Coachella for the music festival, but listeners should be mindful that results may vary.
During my testing with Magic Radio, I found that it does a much better job building playlists based on the other options previously mentioned. I rarely felt the need to skip a song, which is good because Magic Radio incorporates the skip limitations that get in the way of most streaming services. Users are limited to 6 skips per hour on each station (switch From Station A to Station B and you'll be able to get a new set of skips on Station B). UPDATEThe skip limit is only during the trial period. doubleTwist finroms me you get unlimited skips during the paid period.
I enjoyed the vast majority of songs played and found that tuning based on my mood could improve the playlist. I was disappointed by the lack of options for saving a radio playlist for offline listening, but Magic Radio links with 7 Digital to enable buying songs or albums to make available for on-demand listening. Overall, I found Magic Radio to be a good way to break the monotony of listening to only the music stored on my phone.
Magic Radio is available only in the U.S. The service costs $3.99 per month and includes a free 7-day trial. Download doubleTwist from Google Play
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.