A few weeks ago we were getting ready for our bike ride home from one of our gigs. One of the things that makes it easier for us to bike through the cold and up a major hill in Prospect Park in Brooklyn is our iPod (note to sillyputty, we keep our tunes on low so we can still hear what's around us and we wear a nice big helmet for extra safety). As long as we're listening to something that can either take our mind off the burn (This American Life) or let us pretend we're in some kind of bike messenger thriller with an awesome soundtrack we survive the ride. As we got ready this particular day, we plugged in our earbuds and went to turn on our iPod only to find out that we were completely and absolutely out of juice. Wha–?!?
We fretted, sweated, and then remembered we had just downloaded this new app for my Blackberry. Yes, on our search for fun apps for the workhorse of smartphones, we found nuTsie iTunes Playlist Player. The $20 application, which we downloaded from Handmark, lets you upload playlists from your iTunes to the company's server (so you're not limited to your Berry's storage). You then access them using your cell network. You can listen to just your music, or you can tweak the program to offer up other artists and songs it thinks you would like based on your playlist selections. It's kind of like Pandora for your Blackberry...
The program also lets you ignore your playlist and instead choose one of nuTsie's playlists. We chose the Hip-Hip list. As we pedaled away we were impressed by the range of hip-hop on the list. It wasn't just the current top ten, but they mixed in some old school Snoop and Dre in there. We felt like we were back in high school with our saggy jeans and Warriors parka. That said, the artists on the list seemed to only be big names, so we didn't discover any new music we didn't already know about.
Now for our gripes, and unfortunately there are a few. The sound quality was pretty miserable. Since the audio has to transmit via a cell network the audio files have been compressed to the smallest size. This size though made the tracks sound so tinny and flat that it was as if they had been recorded from the radio using a tape deck from '87. A big change from what we're used to from our iPod.
Our other issue came from the hiccups that would happen while the current song was playing and the next song was downloading. As soon as the next song had finished streaming the current song would stop playing for a second and then come back at first sounding off and then slowly coming back to its tinny splendor.
We love the idea of nuTsie, especially for when you want to check out a playlist other than your own while on the move, but the execution just isn't there yet. If the app was free we may be singing another tune, but at $20 it just ain't worth it in our humble opinion.