R.E.M.’s iPhone app offers fans more than they need

Dec 17, 2009
Music

While R.E.M. was relatively late in creating a Web site and official gathering place for their fans to stay informed, they’ve made a step in the right direction by recently launching an official R.E.M. iPhone app. The jangly pop-arena band has been around for nearly 30 years, have released 14 albums, and showed no sign […]

While R.E.M. was relatively late in creating a Web site and official gathering place for their fans to stay informed, they’ve made a step in the right direction by recently launching an official R.E.M. iPhone app.

The jangly pop-arena band has been around for nearly 30 years, have released 14 albums, and showed no sign of slowing down. In other words, it’s getting harder and harder to keep a bead on what the Athens, Georgia trio are up to, and how it fits in with the rest of their formidable history.  

While it’s basically a portal for their aforementioned Web site, the app is pretty convenient for anything a hardcore fan would want. You can check upcoming tour dates, band news, and hear song clips from all 14 albums—there’s even a direct link to the iTunes store to download the songs inexplicably missing from your collection. There’s also a sizable amount of official and fan-made music videos, lyrics so you can finally understand what the mumbling Michael Stipe was singing on the verses to “Radio Free Europe.”

Then there’s the iPhone app’s sole questionable blemish, which will only appeal to the hardest of the hardcore fans: Photos fans can upload of themselves while listening to specific R.E.M. songs. While the inclusion of archival photos dating back to the band’s earliest days seems like a natural fit for the iPhone app, only the shiniest and happiest of shiny happy people will want to see what other R.E.M. fans look like while listening to “The Apologist.”

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David Wolinsky

David Wolinsky is the Chicago city editor for The Onion's A.V. Club and is also the  undisputed 1994 Blockbuster store champion at collecting bananas in Donkey Kong Country.

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