Review by Andrew Kameka on Friday March 07, 2014.
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Samsung has yet another music streaming service to deliver the latest hits to smartphones. In addition to its internal music app that ships with every phone and its former Music Hub powered by 7digital, Android's leading manufacturer today unveiled Milk Music, a Slacker-powered streaming music app that is exclusive to Galaxy devices in the United States. The newest music app also happens to be the best looking and has fewer interruptions.
Milk Music has an interface that is understated, beautiful, and easy to grasp, attributes not typically associated with Samsung products. A large dial acts the primary way to navigate between stations. Users mark their nine favorite genres and then slowly move the dial towards the different sub genres that they can hear. Scrolling towards the Indie marker includes 90's Hits or Alternative, and the Electronic section has stations inspired by ULTRA Music Festival or Trap. The classic motion of moving through a radio knob to access new tunes is expertly replicated with this feature.
In a break from what we typically see from music streaming services, there's also continuity. Switching to another station bookmarks the song currently playing, so it's possible to leave your Katchafire station and return minutes later to find "Sensimillia" still playing. The continuity is perfect for those who listen to music with a scattered approach because it can used to preview what song will play before switching to that station. Songs start playing immediately when the dial glides over the station, so there's zero lag waiting for songs to start. If someone no longer wishes to hear a song when returning, he or she can use 1 of 6 skips per station and hour to get to the next song.
Slacker is the underlying service for Milk Music, so there's a familiar library containing millions of songs. There's also the option to create personal stations based on an artist or song and provide feedback that improves playlists in the future. Songs can be marked as favorites or banned from playing, and a History section that keeps running tabs on the music that you most recently played. The effectiveness of the playlist can also be enhanced by dragging from the bottom to change the frequency of songs based on popularity, freshness, and favorites.
Milk looks like a beautiful app and it sounds great too thanks to the ability to increase sound quality in streaming. There aren't any advertisements at the moment other than occasional audio reminders that you're listening to Milk, but that will eventually change. The pretty face and uninterrupted playback thus makes it easy to get wrapped up in something shiny and new, but Milk isn't without faults. Though it offers some of the strong playback of Slacker, it also has the trouble of genre stations sometimes having loose definitions. That causes the "Old School R&B" category to mistakenly play a couple of 90's era rap songs alongside 70's and 80's soul music.
Milk is only available in the united States, likely because of licensing issues related to regional music rights. The app is available only for the Samsung Galaxy S 4, Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy Mega, Galaxy S4 mini, and Galaxy S4 zoom.
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.