Bandito is a new iPhone app from the Public Radio Exchange website that scans your iPod music on your iPhone or iPod touch and shows you new and blog posts related to those artists. Bandito first asks to scan your iPod library, then shows you a list of the musicians and groups it finds in your music collection. You then can star any artist on the list. The stars will then indicate that you want to see news from that artist in Bandito. There is also a way to search for artists by name, although every time I tried this feature the Bandito app crashed. I’m also getting a error page once in a while when loading the news pages. I’m hoping this is only due to the popularity of the app on its initial release day.
So once you’ve picked your favorites, tap on the Your Artists tab and Bandito starts to fetch news and blog posts containing your list of artists. Each listing indicates the source, and title of the story. Tap it to open an inline Safari browser and read the posts on the original website. This can take a long time to load if you’re on a 3G connection, considering most music blogs are graphic heavy and not optimized for speed.
There’s also a Hot List section that contains news about bands that are popular in the news right now.
If you want more than just a 10 news updates, you’ll have to pay $1.99 via in-app purchase to upgrade Bandito to a full version. Having purchased the upgrade, I did not notice any additional headlines for my chosen artists. I’ve also noticed a series of repeating headlines for popular artists in the updates.
Besides its lackluster app icon, the Bandito app itself has a nice user interface and graphics are shiny and of high quality. Performance is a bit iffy given the crash during the keyword search. You can refresh your iPod list manually if you add new music. Overall, Bandito is a wonderful idea for following artists based on music you already own and love, although it comes a bit short in terms of delivery. Having said that, the base app is free, so try it out for yourself and see.
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