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More Cowbell: Brainstorming an NPR Music iPhone App

Have you seen the new iPhone application "More Cowbell?" Simply download the free app to add glorious clanking cowbell sounds to any song playing on your iPhone. Simple, clean, and oh-so entertaining.

My cowbell affections aside, the creativity and usefulness of iPhone music applications is astonishing. The Pandora application, for example, offers instant music exploration and purchasing with just a few taps on your screen.

NPR Music offers an abundance of content to encourage music discovery—exclusive live concerts, intimate studio sessions and interviews with artists and popular programs such as All
Songs Considered
and Song of the
. Working within the rights and permissions that artists and labels have generously allowed us to feature their music, we are planning to create iPhone applications that not only highlight our content, but also help users wade through the material to discover music that matters to them. It is also our goal to create something that capitalizes on the unique features of the iPhone.

Is it a program that reminds you to tune in to our live concerts as the artist takes the stage? Or a recommendation system to guide you through our thousands of artist
? Do you want the Song of the Day delivered automatically, or the ability to find local public radio music programming wherever you are?

One of our resident music experts, All Songs Considered producer Robin Hilton, posted his Top
5 iPhone Music Applications
on the All Songs Considered Blog. See if you agree with him and tell us how an NPR Music iPhone app could be added to the list.



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A number of your stations have a live audio stream, such as KCRW (which actually has three such streams, and a video stream). An app that would allow us to listen to those feeds -- they could even be an app branded for each of those stations individually -- would be fantastic.

Sent by Grendel | 7:41 PM | 7-24-2008

yes! As I type this on my iPhone I wish there was an NPR app, music, news, car talk, etc. This would be incredibly popular judging by NPR's podcast popularity. Please make it happen!

Sent by Michael | 2:03 PM | 7-26-2008

An NPR radio app that had all stations currently streaming would be neat. It should include search capability, but also a location based function so you could find the NPR station nearest to your location no matter what the time. I'd also like to see a program based on programs, so you could say 'what station is streaming this now' and tune in. There are some stations already in the existing apps but a NPR app would certainly compete with AOL's radio app for top download each week. I just posted a review of the iphone radio apps on which might yield some more ideas.

Sent by Andrew Leyden | 9:40 PM | 7-26-2008

The AOL Radio app is a fantastic application, and I'd probably pay for it. However, I would definitely pay for an NPR application on my iPhone. I think it would be shortsighted, though, to limit such an application to music programming. If you look at the application line up now, there are many more apps geared around information and utility, than music.

I'm a music lover, have recorded three records, and even had one featured on ASC Open Mic. But, I do love Morning Edition on my way in to work. Lately, however, I've been riding my bike, and unfortunately, the iPhone will not stream my local stations live stream.

Whatever NPR needs to do to make this happen, should be done. It is sure to be a hit with iPhone users. Seems like a no-brainer.

Sent by Eric Hurst | 10:30 AM | 7-30-2008

I agree, I deeply want an NPR app that would allow me to listen to national and local NPR stations across the country.

Sent by Brian B. | 3:50 PM | 8-1-2008

Please make an iPhone app. It would be my most used App, by far.

Sent by Bigd | 4:21 AM | 8-5-2008

Agreed. I keep checking the App Store hoping an an NPR streaming app will appear. I hate, for example, having to leave my car or office, while All Things Considered is playing, only to have to do something that I could do while listening to ATC streaming on my iPhone. If only it did. This could start a new phenomenon: NPR iPhone moments (TM).

Give the people what they want, please. We'll pay!

Sent by Jim S. | 5:40 PM | 8-9-2008

I agree with everyone else, please include streams of the current national/local brodcasts.

Sent by George Harkin | 3:16 PM | 8-11-2008

As a long time listener of NPR, and a recent convert to your podcasts, I searched google to find an iPhone app and found this article. Needless to say, the demand is there. A live radio stream would be a welcome start, but I would love to see your apps develop the sophistication that they have in iTunes. Thank you for listening!

Sent by Roshan P. | 12:19 AM | 8-18-2008

Streaming content, please!!

Sent by Ryan F. | 8:21 AM | 8-22-2008

I would pay a billion dollars for a simple iPhone streaming app. ONE BILLION DOLLARS!

Sent by David Yoon | 10:09 AM | 8-22-2008

Yes, please , KCRW streaming on the iPhone 3G. Please !

Sent by ms | 9:38 PM | 8-23-2008

Oh, yes please, please!!! My old phone had FM capability, and I really miss not being able to listen to my local PBS station when walking. I need you, KQED!

Sent by Kris H. | 6:54 PM | 8-25-2008

I agree with all of the above. I'd pay, pledge, subscribe, whatever it takes... Give us an NPR streaming app for the iPhone!

Sent by jason | 9:48 AM | 8-30-2008

please , please, please !- I'd double my pledges.

Sent by Monika S. | 8:57 PM | 9-20-2008

Freedom From Flash!

All the location-specific stuff is nice, but I don't get that when I access from my desktop. I do get a list of programs, the ability to choose one, and to have it stream through my Mac.

Now when I find certain podcast links--esp MP3--I click on them and my phone's media player gives me the choice to save it or stream it--just a simple MP3!

So there's a little disconnect: to get a more "desktop-like" experience on a phone you have to acknowledge one shortcoming: the iPhone, Treos, Centros, and most other phones...just won't do Flash.

Can't we somehow "prisonbreak" NPR content from the constraints of Flash? Google's got an entire MS Word-like app online using no Flash at all--Surely you should be able to make a Flash-less Media Player!

As long as you don't, you hamper mobile access by making it different--but worse: you tie the future of your code to Adobe!

There may be some situations where you have to grin and bear being owned by a private company like Adobe. I just can't believe this is one of them.


Sent by Jeff White | 2:27 AM | 9-22-2008