While Spotify and Pandora are hugely popular options for discovering new tunes, music blog aggregation site The Hype Machine has a bit of a different spin on music discovery. The site keeps track of the huge volume of music blogs that feature embedded free music in their articles —some is from sources like SoundCloud or YouTube, while other songs are uploaded to the site itself, but all of it is free and available directly on The Hype Machine. While the site does a good job at stripping away the articles and other content to focus strictly on the music, Hypegram takes it one step further by distilling the core experience into a small but powerful OS X and Windows app, which is now available after an earlier Windows beta launch.
Hypegram is extremely simple — its left-most column lets you view the newest or most popular songs from The Hype Machine as well as any songs you've marked as favorites and a full list of the most-shared songs from The Hype Machine on Twitter. The middle column displays all of the songs from the aforementioned sources, while the rightmost area shows album artwork and a set of controls for marking a song as a favorite, buying it on iTunes, or tweeting the song though OS X's Twitter integration.
More music than you'll know what to do with
Two more buttons let you see the original blog where the song was posted or subscribe to that source blog. You can then see all of the tracks from blogs you've subscribed to in the left-hand column. It's a wide variety of options for finding new songs — The Hype Machine currently tracks some 854 blogs, so there's a pretty wide variety of music available. That said, remixes seem to be the kind of content that bubbles to the surface of the most popular or most shared lists. If those songs aren't what you're looking for, Hypegram also contains a basic search field — it works pretty well, but you can't really trim your results or do any truly advanced searching. Playback, on the other hand, worked quite well in our tests — songs queued up quickly and streamed without any skips, though the fidelity definitely varied from song to song.
Hypegram may be a third-party app, but since it has access to The Hype Machine's private API, it works great if you've set up an account with the site — all of your subscribed blogs and favorited songs will be synced back and forth from the site itself. So if you're one of the two million or so users with a registered account, you'll be able to have your musical history synced right back to the app when you load it up. If you're tired of the usual options for music discovery, there's no question that the Hypegram / Hype Machine combo will keep plenty of new music flowing through your headphones — but at the end of the day, the $4.99 price point is a bit of a hard sell, considering Hypegram doesn't do anything you can't do on the site itself for free. If you're a real Hype Machine fanatic, however, that slightly high entry price might be worth it.