Meet Radium – I like chocolate in my ears

Back when I dropped my ‘regular’ credit card I found a bunch of things that I just didn’t want to pay monthly for anymore. Rdio was one of those services.

I loved getting new music when I wanted but something about paying for it monthly just didn’t sit right for me. Since then I’ve been on the look out for a replacement.

No I’m not looking to get music for free without supporting artists, I want to listen to music I’m not familiar with. That was really what I got out of Rdio, introductions to new music by following friends.

Going a bit old-school

I’ve ended up going a bit old school – I went with the radio at least sort of. Radium is a menu bar app that connects to internet radio stations and plays them for you.

Controlling play

Unfortunately the biggest issue I have with Radium is that it doesn’t let you use the default media keys on your Mac keyboard. I know tha Rdio and other music apps allow this so maybe it’s a restriction Radium has to put up with to be in the AppStore.

Radium does allow you to set custom key commands for pausing and playing music. Increase and decrease volume and many other items that you may want to do with the playing track (like copy it to the clipboard).

Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 5.04.04 PM

This is okay I guess but I’m still wishing for proper media control support.

Controlling Volume

One of the awesome features of Radium is that it lets you control the volume of the music independantly for each sound source. Want your headphones louder than your speakers, not a problem.

Radium individual output volume
Yeah I have a few output sources

Using iTunes or other music apps I was continually getting my ears blasted off when I would switch from my speakers to my headphones. With Radium I set the proper volume once and I was done.

Favourite Stations

Radium also allows you to favourite stations that you like. It’s a simple click on the little heart icon. Once a station has been favourited it shows up in the main Radium dropdown all the time.

Finding Stations

Finding stations is pretty easy, if you know the type of music you’re in the mood for. Activate Radium from the menu and then type in a search term (like genre) and a bunch of stations will start showing up. Click on one and play it.

I do miss that Rdio would just let me play ‘similar’ music from an artist. I wish that Radium would let me find similar stations to the one I’m currently listening to.

A few of my favourite stations depending on mood are:

  1. Kickin’ Country
  2. Rock Radio 1
  3. Praise 106.5

I liked that track

With Rdio if I loved a track I could add it to my list so it would get played more often. Since Radium is internet radio, you can’t quite do that. You can however add the current trac to your wishlist.

From the wishlist you can then view the track on iTunes or Amazon and purchase it. I don’t purchase much new music in recent years but if you do then this certainly makes the process faster.

On the go

Radium is streaming internet radio stations so while it does have an iPhone application you will be using your data when you’re listening to music. You can sync the settings between devices via iCloud. That means you will have your favourite stations from computer to computer and computer to iDevice.

I really don’t think there is a way around this for Radium it’s up to carriers to provide data plans that make constant music streaming cost effective and I doubt that’s going to happen.

Wrapping it up

As you can see Radium is pretty full featured. It’s easily filled my needs for newish music enough that I don’t feel like I’m missing anything without my Rdio subscription. The only thing I really miss is the ability to take music with me on my iPhone. Rdio let me do that and Radium doesn’t.

99% of the time I’m listening to audio books or podcasts on my iPhone though, so it’s barely a pain.

Radium gets a thumbs up from me.

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