Thursday, 8 November 2012

Alternative Grooveshark and app roundup: Dood's Music Streamer, TinyShark, BlueStream, GrooveMobile, KLastFM, CoboltFM

Playing your music across the border radio stations and Grooveshark on demand streaming are cool additions to the mp3s on your memory card, but unfortunately music streaming services often come with geographic restrictions that ignore the basics of the world wide web.

For example, Grooveshark doesn't like germans. If you have a german IP address it won't sing for you. And Grooveshark and Google have a rather difficult relationship. The official Grooveshark app gets kicked out of the Google Play Store on a regular basis. It made a few comebacks, but it hasn't been around in the Play Store for a while now. Maybe it comes back, maybe it won't. isn't very global either. The germans, english, and americans can listen to radio stations for free, but only on a desktop or notebook computer. If you want to listen on your phone or tablet you have to pay for a subscription. Yes, you read that right. If your computer is smaller than a netbook and runs Android instead of Windows your music comes at a higher price. Outside the three lucky countries everyone has to pay for

But even if you pay that doesn't mean you can listen where you want to listen. Outside Germany, USA, and the UK you can't listen to any music on your phone or tablet. Not even if you buy a thousand paid subscriptions.

But hey, you've got an Android gadget, and Android gadget users don't take no for an answer. With the right apps you can break through the borders and listen to and Grooveshark all over the planet.

Two alternative apps play music anywhere in the world, no matter if you have a paid subscription or not.

CoboltFM is the lesser known app, which may explain why Google didn't boot it from their app store yet. It's the best client I found so far, even though its user interface is a mess. It can do almost gapless playback by precaching the next song, it comes with a menu button to launch your own page with a single tap, and it has a sleep timer. You have to be awake to find it, though. The sleep timer is buried deep down in the settings menu.

KLastFM doesn't have a sleep timer, but its user interface is a lot better. You need to run an ad blocker for that better user interface, because KLastFM puts its ad banners very close to the playback buttons to encourage accidental clicks. Google kicked the app out of the Google Play Store, but there are plenty of other places to get a copy.

Needless to say, both apps scrobble what they play to

CoboltFM (Google Play Store)
KLastFM (Opera Software)

Update 1: CoboltFM and KLastFM are dead. changed things for the worse and pulled the plug on free streaming for almost everyone. Believe it or not, most of the planet can't stream anymore even if they pay. refugees can still stream custom radio stations from Grooveshark with Dood's Music Streamer.

Update 2: Liquid Bear still plays radio on Android.


Bluestream is the worst Grooveshark player from the pack. There are long gaps between songs, because Bluestream doesn't prebuffer. Searching for music or hitting the play button often pops up a connection error that only goes away after you try again a couple of times. The user interface is downright horrible. Tabs for the different parts of the app are in a very thin strip on the bottom of your screen, and you can't reorder tracks in the play queue. It doesn't scrobble to either. On the bright side, it's still available in the Google Play Store.

GrooveMobile has been around on Windows Mobile for a long time, but its Android counterpart is still in its infancy. This may explain why the censors of the Google Play Store didn't find it yet. It's got a built-in equaliser, but no play queue. You can work around that by making an ad hoc playlist, but there's no workaround for the absense of Grooveshark radio stations or the lack of scrobbling. It looks promising anyway, so check for GrooveMobile updates that make things better.

TinyShark has been around a bit longer. Long enough to get kicked out of the Google Play Store. Its user interface sucks, it doesn't precache music so there are gaps between songs, and it won't play Grooveshark radio stations either. On the bright side, it can scrobble your tracks to

Dood's Music Streamer is the best Android Grooveshark app. Too bad its ad banners are strategically placed to attract accidental clicks, but that's what ad blockers are for. It buffers the next track for almost gapless playback, it plays Grooveshark radio stations, its playlist is well organized, it has a very functional widget, and it can scrobble your songs to too. It's not in the Google Play Store anymore, but there's a world wide web out there...

Bluestream (Google Play Store)
Dood's Music Streamer

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