8tracks Radio iPhone App Review

8tracks-internet radio

The Good

  • Thousands of user-submitted mixes
  • Variety of genres
  • Discover new mixes

The Bad

  • Can't create your own mix from the app

The 8tracks Radio app (Free) is unique in the world of iPhone music apps. It features user-submitted online music mixes to help you find and discover new music, but how do "handcrafted" playlists compete against other top music apps?

A cool way to discover new music

Each online mix on 8tracks Radio lasts a minimum of 30 minutes, which generally means it has about eight music tracks--hence the name. When you first launch the app, you have the option to sign up for a free username and password or skip directly to the music (I love having that option!). However, you might as well sign up because you’ll need a username to access many of the app’s features. 

I started looking for mixes by browsing the Featured tab. There doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason to what type of mixes are included there, but I found some interesting options. Each mix is described by type of music (Latin dance party or study mix, for example), and a short description gives you a better sense of what you’ll be listening to. 

After you select a mix, the artist and song name are displayed at the bottom of the screen. You can pause the mix or skip ahead to the next song in a mix. You can like your favorites, share any mix via email or Twitter, or view other mixes by the same user. 

There is a lot of variety within the 8tracks Radio app, although it’s hard to tell exactly what genre you are getting -- especially since some of the descriptions are more "artsy" than informative. I was able to find everything from Eminem to Arcade Fire to Black Sabbath. There is an area to browse by artist or genre, although the mixes themselves aren’t always clearly labeled. 

The only feature I would like to add to 8tracks Radio is the ability to rate each mix. This would be especially helpful when you are browsing by artist or genre, since you could then sort by the top-rated mixes to see what other users are enjoying. That would be one way to sort through the many mixes to find the best ones. You can create and upload your own mixes at 8tracks.com, but it would be nice if you could do that within the app as well. 

The Bottom Line

8tracks Radio is a great way to discover new music. There are thousands of individual mixes, including music from nearly every genre. I encountered no glitches or hiccups while testing the app, and I discovered some new artists along the way. It would be nice if you could rate the mixes or upload your own (directly from the app), but those are small quibbles. Overall rating: 4.5 stars out of 5. 

What You’ll Need

The 8tracks Radio app is compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It requires iPhone OS 4.0 or later.