Almost one year ago I started the development of an iPhone music player that let the users listen to its library like listening to the radio, i.e. without having to manually select the songs one by one, or to create a complete playlist beforehand. The idea for this app had grown in my mind long before, while I was listening to music in my daily drive to the office.
The revolutionary transformations that have been shaking the music media and the business of music distribution for the last decade are changing my status in the fan scene: I’m now a music lover of the “new old school”. I mean, I am one of those that treasures a big collection of vinyl and compact discs, from the time it was impossible to download any music, or enjoy streaming services. But I have to admit that I rarely listen to the music using a CD player or my old turntable.
I have all my music collection properly digitized, labelled and stored in a multimedia server or in my mobile phone. And of course, I use devices such as my mobile phone or my tablet to listen to my favorite music. This makes me stand between the old vinyl disc collectors of the twentieth century and the new Spotify or YouTube addicts. I’m a rare specimen that habits in the middle of two different worlds: I have embraced the digital era in the music, but I still listen to my own music collection.
Inside this context my new app, Next Song Player, can easily be understood. The iPhone Music app is not designed for users like me, becoming to the “new old school”. It is designed for the new Apple Music service. In its last iOS update, Apple has removed some of the features that may be helpful for users having their own music collection, such as displaying (and modifying) the song ratings, or showing the lyrics stored in the metatags. Incredible omissions.
A music player that loves your music collection
I don’t know any music player specifically designed to take full advantage of a big and well tagged music library. Because although we are not fully aware of it, every player app can read a very valuable information: the song metadata. If the songs are correctly tagged, classified by its music genre, with every release date and the song and artist names accurately written, a good music player might build playlists with songs form the user’s library matching appealing criteria, such as:
- Songs from the best female fronted rock bands.
- Songs that speak about a particular topic, such as friendship, love or whatever.
- Songs from the best albums released in certain year, from the best rock operas, or the best live performances.
- Songs from certain decade or musical genre.
Next Song Player is specifically designed to create playlists from rankings of artists, albums and songs. Basically, it searches for songs in your music collection that belong to the same rankings that the selected criteria, to create dynamic lists taylored to the music that you would like to listen. Besides it recovers the functionality that Apple has removed from the Music app after the iOS 10 update: it displays song ratings and allows reading the stored lyrics for the now playing song.
Thinking about how I use the mobile phone to listen to music, I decided to add two features that may be helpful for the music collectors:
- It is possible to add annotations about the song being played, to allow a simple way of racalling some action to be taken later on that song, such as fixing the metadata.
- The player can send a silent notification on every track change with the information of the song name and artist, displaying the details of the new song being played. This is specially useful when listening to music while using any other app, or just when the screen is locked to save battery.
There’s still many improvements to be applied to my new app, but I really think that Next Song Player is a good music player. If you are one of the “new old school” music fans, give it a try. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.