Bandcamp is an invaluable music resource, but you wouldn't know it from their iOS app
Bandcamp is a revolutionary service that has helped break down the barriers for self-released music across every genre of music. If you like music, they have you covered.
Utilizing deep fan integration and tags the site allows you to search by genres, country, your friends recommendations, record labels, and any other odd metadata you can imagine.
Tagging goes beyond those basic identifiers. Search the tag "Slayer" and you will find hundreds of bands that aren't Slayer who may be in your wheelhouse. Then when you find what you're looking for you are provided the option to stream songs for free, or buy a download in a wide range of formats from lossless options to simple MP3s.
Discovering music with Bandcamp is a joy. Unless you use their iOS app.
For reasons I cannot understand the iOS app for Bandcamp's app only allows you to fully stream albums you've already purchased from the service. Which is a nice basic feature that should be included, but given that the company has built its reputation on discovery this is crushing oversight. The app does allow you to choose how much audio data you want to cache on your device for offline listening, but if you wanted to listen offline you'll already have the files on your computer.
Beyond listening to the albums you already own you can use the app to stream Bandcamp's podcast orfind music by getting recommendations from other fans. Which should be amazing right? It's not the full searching options available on the site but at least it's something. You can see what people are listening to and then stream it.
Except you can only stream one song from these recommendations.
It's incredibly frustrating to see a service this great have such a weak, featureless iOS app. Especially because their mobile website is an absolute joy to use on your iOS device. Visiting Bandcamp in your mobile web browser allows you to utilize the full range of Bandcamp's services.
Do you want to stream records? You got it. Do you want to download and discover new albums? You got it. Do you want to search artists or tags? Boy howdy does Bandcamp.com have you covered. Streams from the website keep playing even if you switch to another app and can even be paused using the control center when you're outside your browser.
At the top of the page you can see a screen shot of what the app looks like. To your right is what the web interface looks like on iOS Safari. Notice the lack of search options? It's a massive oversight if your mobile website is more full featured than your app.
The lack of options and features in Bandcamp's app is disappointing, but the service is still well worth checking out for iOS users hunting for new tunes.
Sadly, at the moment at least, we recommend you just use the service's website on your phone. Bandcamp's app left us wanting to write our Moms asking if we could come home early. We hope its next update gives us something happy to write home about.
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