NPR rolls out music streaming app for iPad

Feb 17, 2012
Music

National Public Radio has had an iPhone-optimized music streaming app called NPR Music available for a while now, but the public radio non-profit has expanded its service, bringing the app to iPad for the first time. As Fast Company reports, the latest update to NPR Music makes it work with the Apple tablet’s larger screen […]

National Public Radio has had an iPhone-optimized music streaming app called NPR Music available for a while now, but the public radio non-profit has expanded its service, bringing the app to iPad for the first time.

As Fast Company reports, the latest update to NPR Music makes it work with the Apple tablet’s larger screen size, but the core services are the same as those that have been available for a while. NPR Music allows users to stream content from more than 100 different NPR stations across the country. It also features music from lots of different artists, some of which is not available anywhere else.

With 26 million listeners, NPR gets some pretty cool music deals. Often Internet subscribers are able to stream albums from popular recording artists before they’re actually available for sale. Rather than hitting the web and hunting down those streams on NPR.com, NPR Music makes that content available in one place. Plus there’s lots of other things like editorial content and radio shows from different stations and music of all sorts, both well-known and not-so well-known. It also includes other cool exclusives, like live-streamed concerts.

Along with the ability to stream all kinds of content and get access to just about everything NPR has to offer on your iPad from across the entire country, the app also includes features like AirPlay support, allowing you to listen using other iOS or Apple devices. NPR Music will even scan through your device’s iTunes playlists and make recommendations of artists and music you might like.

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NPR told Fast Company that its push into mobile apps is part of its longer view of staying relevant and attracting new users into the future. Though most young people don’t own a radio, as Anya Grundmann of NPR Music pointed out, NPR’s listenership has been increasing, largely because of its outreach into other media.

“We would be crazy not to be thinking about what happens if [radio] were to decline,” Grundmann said. “People in their early 20s don’t usually own radios. Our core competency at NPR is audio – and that can transform to multiple platforms.”

It appears as though NPR is in a pretty healthy position to continue to make cool things for iOS devices. Its NPR Music iPad app was an in-house effort and has turned out to be pretty impressive. The non-profit does a pretty great job of providing compelling content, and it seems as though it’s also well on its way to reaching into future distribution channels effectively.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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