While a lot of current music listening options nowadays revolve around streaming your content from a certain provider, free or otherwise (Google Play Music, Amazon Music, Spotify, etc.), many of us still have a lot of purchased music sitting in multiple places. This media is in the form of .mp3 files.
Remember those? The dozens, if not hundreds, of music files you paid for over the years? These can be and are easily forgotten about, when it isn’t all available to play through a easy-to-use and good-looking interface.
Enter Backspin, a new and very good music player for Android. Developed by Logan Shaw, this app is meant to be a complete replacement music player for whatever stock player(s) that came with your device. You can read more info on the app at its website, www.backspin.me.
You download the app from the Play Store. From there, you can and probably will go down a couple of different roads to get your music on the app. The first is pretty easy, as, upon startup, the Backspin app will automatically scan your device for and upload the .mp3 files you already have on your device (onboard and SD-card memory).
This, at least in my experience, is a crucial point: if you’ve purchased music from an online source but not yet downloaded to your device (like moi), then there is some manual labor involved to complete setup.
- You must first download the music service’s downloader software (Google Music Manager or Amazon Music for Mac or Windows.
- Then manually move the software onto your computer.
- From there you plug in your device (where it should be automatically discovered as an external drive), and drag-and-drop or copy-and-paste your files from the manager’s folder into the device folder of your choice.
- Then you open Backspin, go to the settings window, and choose “Rescan”, where the app will discover your newly downloaded files and place them in its system. As you add music to your device, the app will also periodically discover these new files on its own, too.
This isn’t a ding on the app itself, but an unwritten commentary on the state of the current digital media market, and the overriding role that digital rights management (DRM) has on our lives as consumers. It’s a shame the content providers don’t make it easier for us to enjoy the media we purchase and “own”. OK, rant over.
Listening and managing music in the app is very easy and pleasurable. A couple of great features is the ease in which to make new or manage existing playlists, and its “Smart Shuffle”. To add or remove songs is as easy as tapping the ‘+’ or ‘x’ icons, respectively. Moving songs within a playlist is a drag-and-drop affair. “Smart Shuffle” makes sure every song in a playlist is played during ‘shuffle’ mode before repeating. That way if you want to jump directly to a specific song in the the playlist, the shuffle won’t re-start and begin repeating again….pretty smart.
Yet another nice idea is the ease to move playlists between devices. You can use the traditional method of uploading & downloading via a PC/Mac with USB tether. But you can also email yourself playlists (sent as .xspf files), and then import directly into your device with the email attachment….again, pretty slick.
Visual quality is a definite highlight, as I honestly prefer the color, font, and layout scheme to all other streaming services. It’s really that good; I was struck immediately by how your eye can flow right to what your looking for, without distraction. Menus and contextual actions are intuitive and fluid. The app also looks as good (if not better) on tablets as on phones; the extra real estate is not wasted, with more information and visuals, without cluttering the scene. I’m interested to see if or what Logan brings next to the market; he certainly seems to have an eye for design.
Sound quality and customization is also here, with a full-boat equalizer ready to tweak your tunes. Equalizer settings can also be saved and/or loaded as presets on-command.
Overall I was very impressed with Backspin, and highly recommend it as your new Android music player. From control and management of your content, to the outstanding visuals and clever features, this app certainly gives new life to your collection of purchased .mp3 files. Seriously, give it a try!