The Hype Machine website works as a way to aggregate all of the cool music posts on all the cool music blogs. The very best of these curated tracks end up on the Hype Machine website, and it works work as a sort of playlist from around the internet.
The Hype Machine iOS app works similarly in that it’s essentially a music player, but you’re probably not going to be running into much music you’ve ever heard before. More than a music player app, it’s a music discovery app that will not only let you hear the tracks in full but link you to the blogs that can provide you with even more smooth jams.
Starting up the Hype Machine
You don’t have to sign up or log in to use the Hype Machine app, but there are some pretty cool features, like a personalized feed and the ability to connect with friends, that you won’t be able to use if you don’t have an account. If you don’t, no big deal; you can still listen to lots of music and browse the blogs, but if you have an account, you can take advantage of the other stuff.
The Latest and Popular tabs will bring up just that, either the very latest or the most popular song posts. Both tabs work like playlists; all the tracks in each tab will play in the Hype Machine music player, and you can shuffle or set them to repeat. The Latest tab is constantly updated, and in my experience, the newest music here will have only been posted about two hours ago. That doesn’t mean the music itself is new, though, just that it was recently posted to a music blog. The music on the Popular tab tends to run a bit fresher, and you can see what’s popular right now and the previous week. Both tabs can be screened for remixes, if you so desire.
If you’re looking for something specific, the Genres tab can help you. There are a lot of genres here, more than I’d ever considered, but a song post may appear in more than one genre. The tracks within a genre will be sorted by the time they were posted to a blog, with the very newest at the top. The genres can just go on and on, so if you find something you like, you can curl up happily there for quite some time.
Modding Your Machine
If you find a track you just love and have got to hear again and again, you can tap the heart in the player controls. This will add it to your Favorites playlist. At any time, you can return to your favorite tracks and listen to anything from the past. If you get tired of something, swipe past it or unfavorite it.
Let’s say you’ve favorited a bunch of tracks. You look back, and half of them were from the same music blog. Maybe you should check that blog out, right? The first thing you can do is follow the blog by tapping on its name just above the player controls. If you want to learn more about the blog or the artists you’re listening to, you can also open the blog in a browser and scroll through the posts yourself.
Once you’ve started following a few blogs, Hype Machine will create a music feed for you. This is like an RSS playlist of all the latest tracks from your favorite music bloggers. Your feed is constantly updated as your favorite bloggers update their sites, and the more blogs you favorite, the sooner you’ll get new music.
Sometimes it Backfires
The music player shows up just about everywhere in Hype Machine, which means that you can listen to pretty much everything. There were a couple of times, however, when a track wouldn’t load, and I’d have to skip to the next, which was always disappointing. On closer inspection, the files that played best had been embedded on the host blogs via Soundcloud. I had trouble playing reliably from some other services, and one or two tracks that appeared on Hype Machine had been removed from the source due to DMCA complaints.
None of this is Hype Machine’s fault, of course. They’re not hosting the blogs or the music, and they can’t control how the bloggers choose to link to individual tracks. It did cause the Hype Machine player to lag and on occasion just give up entirely, though, so while I don’t think it’s a deal breaker, it’s worth keeping in mind.
As a music discovery app, Hype Machine is the real deal. While I bumped up against a few artists with which I was already familiar, Hype Machine and the bloggers it aggregates presented me with lots of bands I’d never heard of or tracks by some of my favorites that had been off of my radar.
There are lots of ways to get at just the music you want, whether you filter out remixes or zero in on specific blogs, making the Hype Machine experience entirely customizable. For music geeks and those who just want to listen to something new, Hype Machine is a compelling addition to their roster of music apps.