Magnatune on the iPhone
The Magnatune iPhone app is now available on the iTunes store - this is an older blog entry about an earlier version of the iPhone app which Apple had rejected.
The Magnatune app for the iPhone has been done for about five weeks. We're currently waiting for Apple to approve it and put it on the iTunes store so that everyone can start using it. We did get an email from Apple about 2 weeks ago that they're still reviewing it and that it's taking longer than they expected, so they haven't forgotten about us.
|Update on October 5th:
Apple has rejected our Magnatune app, and stated this as the reason:
"Without Apple's prior written approval, an Application may not provide, unlock or enable additional features or functionality through distribution mechanisms other than the iTunes Store."
The In App Purchase API is available in iPhone OS 3.0. It would be appropriate to resubmit your application for review once you've made the appropriate changes to your application.
I'm not entirely sure, but I think they might not like that people can get a membership from Magnatune and then use the iPhone app to listen to music w/o commercial on the end. We're trying to get clarification on the reason for the rejection, and will resubmit the app to Apple to see if we can get it approved. It may be that the Magnatune iPhone app will not be able to support Magnatune memberships unless the members are paying through the iTunes payment system. We'll see.
It will be a free (no cost) download, and I'm hoping it will be very popular since it will be the only way to play albums of music through an iPhone app: all the other music apps I've seen for the iPhone choose the music for you (ie, pandora, last.fm) and are not album-oriented.
Below are several screenshots from the application. Basically, we mimicked the iPod player on the iPhone (so that it'd be easy to use), except that you can play the entire magnatune catalog, for free, from your iphone, and you don't need to download any music.
For free, the Magnatune iPhone app plays my voice announcing each track at the end of each song. If you have a Magnatune membership, the music plays without my voice interrupting things.
The audio quality is 64k mp3 when you're on the 3G network, and 128k mp3 when you're on wifi. We found that 3G handled the higher audio quality just fine, but we've also read about other audio apps being rejected because AT&T is worried about bandwidth, and that lofi audio on 3G would be wiser.
One of the nice features of the app is that it remembers what song you're listening to, so if you have to leave the app to do something else on your iPhone, when you come back it asks you if you want to continue playing the song you were listening to when you left.
Of course, I'll blog the status of the app just as soon as I hear something from Apple.
Posted by John Buckman on September 7, 2009 at 06:46 PM | Permalink
really looking forward to this!
Posted by: Eric Redlinger at Sep 8, 2009 1:40:46 PM
If 3g speed is limited to 64k, why not use ogg instead of mp3? It will sound better, the iphone hardware can certainly handle it (you can include the codec in your app if necessary), and it promotes freedom.
Posted by: paul at Sep 8, 2009 6:02:59 PM
That are some great news! Thanks for the app and one question - would it be a problem to make tracks downloadable? I'm sometimes off the Wi-Fi network and to be able to download tracks I want to listen later would be just awesome.
Posted by: CoSTa at Sep 8, 2009 11:37:35 PM
re: 3g, why not using OGG
We definitely want to use OGG to save bandwidth, and I made 24bit OGG files of all our music to test the audio quality, and found it to be significantly better than 64k mp3s (free playback on Amarok on Linux uses them, BTW).
However, the programming interface for the iphone makes streaming HTTP into an mp3 player fairly automatic, as the iPhone does the mp3 decoding for you.
So, to do OGG playback we have to a) port the OGG toolkit to the iPhone, and b) do OGG decoding to WAV internally, which is both a bit more work, and a concern about CPU and battery life, since the iPhone has so optimized mp3 playback. It's all doable, but I wanted to get the app approved and used by people first.
re: ability to download later
If you want to listen to music w/o a 3g or wifi connection, you should simply download music (either buying it or with a membership) using your computer and sync to your iPhone with iTunes.
Posted by: John from Magnatune at Sep 9, 2009 12:07:14 AM
Thanks John for answering. The whole idea of Magnatune i think is that you can actually listen music prior to buing it. But sometimes you're out from network or have very limited amount of data transfer rate (happens in Poland, where I live, that's why streaming via 3G is so painful for us). So that was the source of my question. I love Magnatune and it would be a a grat help for people with limited data plans to just download sample music from your service, listen to it wherever happens and to decide to buy it or not. Thanks and keep the good work!
Posted by: CoSTa at Sep 10, 2009 1:46:58 AM
Could you make 64k or 128k configurable? Not everyone are tied to a rotten network operator you know.
As for OGG, Spotify was able to do it. AAC / AACplus is also an option which might be natively supported.
Posted by: Asgeir S. Nilsen at Sep 10, 2009 2:20:53 PM
Your master recordings are in 24 bit?! Any chance of releasing 24 bit flacs? I have no idea how I'd listen to them (I don't have the hardware for it) but I'd figure something out.
Posted by: paul at Sep 11, 2009 11:34:46 PM
Great news!I'm looking forward to publicizing it to iphone-using friends via Facebook.
Posted by: Sanford Lewis at Oct 16, 2009 2:34:40 PM
If Apple contiunes giving you headache you could also release it on Cydia for jailbroken iPhones, with the added benefit of people being able to put the app into the background while checking mail or browsing the web.
I do this currently with Spotify.
Posted by: Brian Levinsen at Oct 24, 2009 9:38:31 AM
I'd like to see a PalmPre App for consuming magna-tunes.
Posted by: Falk at Oct 25, 2009 2:10:02 PM
I just downloaded the app this morning- it looks fantastic! Thanks for all the hard work.
Posted by: Justin Bianco at Nov 5, 2009 7:24:29 AM