Once upon a time, the channel known as MTV — believe it or not — played music. It sounds crazy, in the these days of non-stop reality show and celebrity coverage, but music was the name of the game, and a new app MTV just released today moves the company back to its roots, at least in one small way. MTV Artists for iPhone is best described as a mashup between Shazam and Ticketmaster. For starters, it comes with a Wikipedia-style database — you can search for an artist and see photos, videos, interviews, a biography, some band history, and other content. There's also a "top 10 songs in 90 seconds" feature, which pulls audio from Rhapsody to give you a quick overview of the artist.
Another highlight feature is Song ID, which essentially works like Shazam: you just tap Song ID and it'll identify any song playing. In our quick testing, Song ID worked fast and accurately, and the results let you single-tap in to the iTunes Store to purchase the song if you're interested. It's not exactly a unique feature, but it's a smart addition and goes a long way to making MTV Artists a one-stop music app. That said, we tried it in a quiet room, not a loud bar — so results may vary depending on where you're trying the feature.
That one-stop mentality extends to another nice feature — you see concert dates and buy tickets to those shows right inside the app. It shows official sources like Ticketmaster as well as "secondary marketplaces" like StubHub. Clicking through one of those options just brings you to the mobile site, but again — it helps MTV Artists be a fairly comprehensive music app. You certainly won't use it for most of your listening needs — that's what Spotify and iTunes are for — but it's a surprisingly useful tool for pulling up quick info about musicians you're interested in or finding out the name of a song playing nearby. If you want it, the app is live now in the iTunes Store.