The NPR Music site launched on the iPad this week is pretty darn spiffy - opening a Pandora's box of content that reallly hits the spot(ify.) Philadelphia public radiio stations are part of the freebie mix - though their commitment to the cause could be stronger.
Actually a fine tuning/focusing of the music component in the already popular NPR app, NPR Music offers listeners instant access to dozens of public stations serving up more sophisticated/mellow varieties of music - alt and indie rock (in many manifestations), jazz and classical.
A decorative on-screen menu also provides quick access to specialty radio programs like "Piano Jazz." "Alt Latino" and WXPN's "World Cafe," as well as to streaming video mini-concerts and short-form music videos that are well curated and ever tasteful. First to grab my eyes and ears - one of the "Tiny Desk" concerts spotlighting tUnE-YarDs; a snappy, synthed up set by alt-hip hop-bop duo Shabazz Palaces; and a dynamic session with vibraphonist Walter Wolf's jazz quintet. All fun to watch as well as hear, with fine picture and sound quality.
Unlike the older NPR site for the iPad, NPR Music allows you to download some content (mostly interviews/reviews) for enjoyment off-line, though it's launched with just short segments. Maybe for the same technical reasons, some of the video concerts billed as lasting an hour or so actually prove a lot shorter.
Some occasional content stall-outs were experienced on my first generation iPad, especially when I tried to multi-task - simultaneously listening to NPR Music through a Bluetooth-connected foxL portable speaker while browsing Philly.com. (The app also supports wireless Apple Airplay streaming.)
My gripe with the Philly radio contributions - the three (distinct) channel streams of WXPN and two (jazz and classical) supplied from WRTI?
None code the music with helpful artist/composer and song title information - identifying visuals which ARE available on-screen from other NPR Music outlets like KCRW Eclectic 24, The Current, Classical MPR and Folk Alley more prominently featured on the site.
Maybe that's a reason why?