Public Radio Exchange (PRX) has teamed up with music intelligence company The Echo Nest to bring us music lovers Bandito, an easy way to find out what's going on with our favorite artists. Their new mobile app uses the existing iTunes library on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch to find your most-played bands and singers, serving up the latest news from around the web on them.
When you first launch the app, it will ask you to scan your iPod so it can find the top artists in your iTunes library, scouring your files for the music you listen to most frequently.
Sure, if you want to get news about your favorite artists, you could just set up a Google Alert—but who wants their inbox full of emails from Google? Bandito makes the process easier and far less obtrusive by highlighting your favorite artists and searching the web for trending info on them via blogs and news sources. It's a great idea for the mobile world—music news at your fingertips!
Though a solid concept, Bandito still has a few minor bugs to work out. It seems to think Bob Marley and The Young Gods are my top artists, which they are not. I did recently download a bunch of their music, but have yet to fully appreciate it on my iPhone. But that's not too big a deal, since you can simply un-star the top suggested artists by clicking on them and choosing more appropriate artists for Bandito to show news results for. You can also prioritize them.
After messing around with the top artists, I checked out the news and found that it's confused by some bands. For instance, Low. Every result that it showed me had nothing to do with the band Low, but that's no surprise since it's only three letters long and popular music sites like eMusic can't even get it right, as you can see below (which I pointed out to them numerous times).
Also, when viewing web content through the Bandito app, the right-side of all of the websites I visited were cut off, making it hard to read the last word in each line. That was alleviated with a small pinch and zoom, but that's not the ideal way to read your music news. But it does have the option to view articles in Safari and even email the link if you'd like (maybe to yourself).
It is a new app (version 1.0.1), so these kinks are sure to get worked out soon, but don't let that discourage you from using Bandito. It's also a great source of keeping up with the music industry, thanks to the Hotlist feature, which shows trending news about current popular artists.
Bandito's free in the iTunes App Store, but is limited to showing only 10 article results at a time. There is an in-app upgrade option for $1.99 which wields unlimited news, reviews and blog posts.