The Fastest $2.99 I've Ever Spent

Published 2011-05-12 on Farid Zakaria's Blog

Beaten to the Punch and Glad for it

I had been lazily writing a toy Hype Machine iPhone application for the past month as a side project to learn iOS development and just as a side project in general. Although I had never any plans to release ever the application on the Apple Store the project was interesting to me because I had wanted a Hype Machine application on my iPhone for quite some time. May 11th 2011 felt like Christmas however when the official iPhone Hype Machine application was released. Being an avid user and iPhone fanboy I purchased the application within seconds of hearing the news via the many feeds I follow Hype Machine on.
The fastest $2.99 I've spent (and the largest purchase) I've made on the App Store

You can find the application here on the Apple Store.

Initial thoughts

Within the first 5 minutes of using the application, you can immediately feel that the experience is different than the one you might come to expect from using the site. Notable features which I had come to love and use primarily on were missing leaving me in unfamiliar territory.

Although perhaps hastily, I wrote a review on the App Store and on my Facebook/Tumblr expressing my thoughts on the app and the missing features. Notable points I expressed were:

  • The price of $2.99 seemed outrageous considering similar applications were within the $0.99 range
  • Unable to move backwards through songs playings (meaning you cannot repeat songs you enojoy)
  • Clicking on the 'radios' do not match those listed on the website. This combined with the inability to navigate backwards was upsetting
  • There was no option to stream through your previously hearted songs. As someone who used my hearted songs (the website in general) as a playlist for parties/social events this made the app somewhat irrelevant for that purpose
  • I did like how the blog posts were delivered as an image allowing them to be loaded quickly (although an option to view in Safari would be nice)

Although it was comforting to hear from other users via the social networking sites that they shared similar concerns, it seemed although I may have judged the application too quickly (not given it a chance to grow on me) and not perhaps given it a fair chance.

Hastily Judged

Although I stand by the points mentioned above, sometimes things are the way they are for reasons beyond my understanding at first glance (this case was no exception). Anthony Volodkin one of the developers of the Hype Machine wrote back to me via e-mail explaining some of the reasons/causes for the choices made in the application.


I saw your comments and reviews on the iPhone app and wanted to explain why you are seeing issues 1 2 and 4:

The music in this app is licensed under the same license used by Pandora and 8tracks in the US. The license has some restrictions, some of which have to do with rewinding the stream, knowing in advance what songs will be in the stream and how frequently the same artist can be played. Our challenge with the app is to make something great that still complies to those rules.

Also, some favorites do appear in the My Mix station, though those are mixed in with the contents of your Subscriptions. The terms of the license, however

There are naturally many enhancements we are working on with this app, but above is something you should consider. I do appreciate your passion.

We anticipated some feedback of this type because the app isn't a full implementation of the site, but is rather different. Whenever one makes anything different some of the audience gets frustrated.


After reading his response, I'm willing to give the application more time to grow on me now and perhaps I will find a new way to use it. As he mentioned, they delivered something different and I should give it some time to see how it might fit into my listening style now.

One final question I have though is that I live in Canada. Are the restrictions and licenses the same in Canada as they are in the US? If not, maybe us Canadians can get an application that mimics more the site (or a mobile version of the site).
Fingers crossed.