Pinworthy: Apps for listening to music while working out

Pinworthy: Apps for listening to music while working out

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Like many of you, I’ve returned to the gym to burn off some unwanted leftovers from 2011 and need easy access to music on my phone for workouts. As I climb on the bike, I don’t want to fumble through a catalog of artists, albums, and playlists inside an app. I want to hit Play and get going.

But that’s no problem. A variety of music apps (not to mention the built-in Zune player) have recently launched in Marketplace or been updated with Live Tiles that let you play music from your Start screen with one touch. In this post, I’ll tell you about some options, which I’ve broken down into two categories: subscription music apps and radio apps.

Subscription music apps

Zune, Spotify and Rhapsody let you rent unlimited music from a library of millions of tracks for about 10 bucks a month. Music can be played streaming or cached to your phone for offline playback. Zune and Rhapsody also enable you to create personal radio stations, where you choose a music category, and the service picks the individual tracks.

I’ve used all of these services before, and they’re great. Each offers something unique (social network integration, music identification, staff recommendations, etc.) and are available in different markets. I encourage you to do your homework and sample each, but here’s how they stack up when it comes to quick and easy access to your music:


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Caption: Zune—found in the Music + Videos hub—provides the greatest number of options for quick access to your favorite music by allowing you to pin artists, albums, songs, playlists, and music genres as well as Smart DJ selections to your Start screen


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Caption: Rhapsody comes in second in the Live Tile category with favorite artists, albums, and playlists that can be added to your Start screen.


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Caption: Spotify allows you to pin your playlists and playlists from fellow Spotify users who are your friends on Facebook. Artists, albums, songs, guest playlists, and more must be saved as your playlists before they can be pinned to your Start screen.


Radio apps

There are also apps you can use to create customized radio stations and access to hundreds of music, news and sports stations from around the world. iHeartRadio, TuneIn Radio and Slacker Radio are pretty cool and offer unique features, such social media integration, artist biographies, album reviews and song lyrics. They’re all free so check them out to find the one (or few) that best suit you. And, of course, all of them allow you to pin stations to your Start Screen.


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Caption: iHeartRadio delivers over 750 US radio stations, celebrity-hosted channels, local traffic reports and more, as well commercial-free shows – all of which may be added as Live Tiles to Start Screen.

TuneIn Radio

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Caption: TuneIn Radio lets you choose from over 50,000 stations and 1.2 million on-demand streams from around the world, add the stations, songs and shows you love most to your presets, and pin them as a Live Tiles to your Start screen.

Slacker Radio

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Caption: While it may not provide access to live radio stations from around the globe, Slacker Radio’s appeal comes from its ability to create radio stations tailored to your music interest. Millions of songs from thousands of artists help you create and pin your own radio stations to your Start screen

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  • Ian Fredson , Excellent blog

  • I found that OverDrive Media Console comes handy to listen to free audiobooks from my local library.

  • @Jamon723 - Thanks for the post.  

    It's like a slap in the face to search for "HTC Zune Freeze" and to then stumble upon the Windows team upselling their music features without working to repair the faults with Zune pass.  I've had this problem since October, my HTC Surround locks up several times a day. I can't get through an album without having to reset the phone.  

    The lack of awareness or acknowledgement from Microsoft is terrible.  I show off my phone to tons of people because I love the UI, and bugs are expected, but it's pretty terrible that no one seems to care to fix these bugs.

  • hysonmb
    6 Posts

    What about supporting Zune Channels on WP7? There are a few good fitness playlists on there that I used to find good workout music in all of the time.

  • @Jamon723 - Just seeing your post now.  Thanks for the heads up.  I will investigate and circle back with you shortly.

  • @Bullonprowl - sorry I went dark the past few days. Just seeing your question now. Dark ash BG is the default color when pinning a song or playlist from Zune to the Start screen on my HD7.  What color does your Samsung focus display when pinning individual songsor playlists?

  • @Jamon723 this was even happening with the 360 metro client during dashboard preview dont know if even that was fixed beacuse i experienced this on xbox 360 s with wifi but i have since went back useing MoCA for my 360 so i cant say if they fixed it

  • Is there an app for Grooveshark too that you guys know of? I sort of grew fond of it lately and to me it´s still the best source for online streamed music. Plus, since we´re talking about music, do you know if there´s an app that allows me to get a video ringback (I know, sort of silly, but still...)? I used to get it through ECT before ( now I´m looking for something similar. I like to present my buddies with an annoying new tune every week... :)

  • PunoZ
    1 Posts

    I use “Speak To Play” to play songs while in the gym or driving. It’s voice controlled and integrates well with the built in Zune player.

  • ANDY,

    I am curious if you use an HTC phone through AT&T?  Because everyone else in that scenario has an issue of Zune freezing our phones between songs (making it necessary to remove the battery to restore function).  This has been going on since at least September of last year as documented on the website.  As a matter of fact, if you go to in the 'Windows Phone 7' questions, and you sort all questions by # of replies, it is the #2 issue.  It has been reportedly fixed by an HTC firmware update (or a combination of the HTC firmware update and the 8107 software update) elsewhere in the world.... but NOT here.  I, along with a large number of the 732 repliers (& 10,095 viewers) at the time of my writing this, have spent hours on the phone (&/or on hold) with AT&T and HTC trying to get this firmware update with no success or, more often, even the benefit of speaking to a representative who has any idea what we're TALKING about !!! In addition we've all gone to the 'answers' site, posted here and everywhere else we feel like we might get a response from SOMEONE on the Windows Phone Team, with no success or even a reply of acknowledging our problem exists (10,095 views should prove it does).  Have you or anyone you know had any success in resolving this issue?  And if so, could you please pass along that information to the rest of us?  BTW, I do love my Titan WP7 aside from the Zune freeze issue I'm writing about and the disappearing keyboard whose 8107 fix is supposedly on it's way (soon I hope).  But I (WE) CAN'T PLAY MUSIC (Zune DRM) THROUGH ZUNE WITHOUT MY (OUR) PHONE(S)  LOCKING UP 1 TO 3 SONGS IN !!!  Waiting several months for an update to add function to a phone that already does everything it's supposed to do is tolerable.  But waiting several months for an update to fix serious flaws/bugs in basic functions is not !!!  We want our phones to play music like they were made to do !!!



  • would be nice if they updated windows media guides internet radio section to be compatible with wp7

  • Hi Andy Colley, waiting for your response :-)

  • @jj Johnson 1701

    Those are great ideas and should be implemented ASAP! You know what else would be nice? Well.. Some... WP T Shirts of course! lol

  • don't forget TuneWiki, it's really a good app with synchronized lyrics and radio stations on the shoutcast network

  • Hi Andy, out of topic :-), i like the theme you have choosen (Dark ash BG with white fore color - on the zune post). how do i get it? i usse samsung ifocus version 7.10.7720.68. should i update anything?

  • I really don't need the other apps when I have Zune and a Zune pass.  I do need a few new features ( and you should take features from the competition ( to keep up - give me Zune Social so I can more easily share music with friends who have Windows Phones, and send songs to people which send them to the Zune marketplace, bringing more Zune awareness, and add Channels.

  • Juan
    1 Posts

    If you have your own collection and want to store it on skydrive try Cloud Music a skydrive music client...

  • Spotify would be pin-worthy if it weren't so bug ridden.  Does anyone at Microsoft plan on addressing the bugs?  As Spotify wasn't concerned enough to write their own app, I don't see them fixing bugs either.

  • wenogg
    1 Posts

    If you use Pandora you should check out Radio Controlled, an unofficial Pandora client.