Grab Radio is certainly not the first app that has been developed to allow users to access worldwide radio stations from their iPhone. But it does have a few extra features that make it stand out from the crowd. Users can not only tune-in to random worldwide stations (Radio Dacha, Russia, anyone?), but iPhone users can also see the artwork of the album and ‘Grab’ or ‘Tag’ any new music that they like.
The sheer volume of stations you can access is amazing, with over 50,000 currently available from places as far afield as Peru. Stations are categorised as local radio, talk radio, sports and music (which allows you to pick a musical category like classical or rock.) When you hear a song you like, you can, in theory, ‘Grab’ it through iTunes. Grabbing it means you are taken directly to the iTunes store where you can purchase the tune. I say ‘in theory’ because you can do this only if the station provides the information. If it does, you will see a Grab button. You can also ‘Tag’ tunes that you like, which allows you to keep a record of the song, artist and album. This is a handy way of building up a collection of new music. The ‘More’ option links to Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and Myspace so you can watch music videos or keep up with the artist via social media. The developers have incorporated a Shazam button to identify the music in cases where Grab is not an option. If you wish to access a station that is not stored as a pre-set, you have the option of tuning in manually.
Perhaps it was just the stations I accessed, but very few let me Grab tracks. The makers of the app say that eventually every station should be able to provide the information, so it has been set up with a view to stations eventually upping their game when it comes to putting that information out there for listeners.
I did enjoy using the app – especially as I was able to tune in to my local community radio station from back home! The developers quite rightfully suggest that it may be useful if you are learning a new language, as you can select a station abroad and listen to the locals speak. I might finally get around to learning French!
Pros – Really amazing range of stations available and, in cases where Grab was an option, the transfer through to the iTunes store was quick and painless. The sound quality was really good aswell.
Cons – If a selling point is the grab and tag capability, quite a few stations do not yet offer this. I also think the amount of stations available might put people off, especially when there are apps out there that allow you to access stations in chosen countries only. Realistically, how many people will want to tune in to Radio Azul 840 in Peru?