It’s odd when considering that we’re looking at a music app, but the first thing you’ll notice about Bloom.fm is how it looks, not just how it sounds. The new app from London-based developers DDN marries a vast library of music from the world’s major record labels with beautiful design to provide one of the more unique audio visual experiences on iOS and Android.
Bloom.fm is part music discovery tool, part streaming service and part offline music player all rolled into one, which we’d liken to services like Spotify and Last.fm. The first time you open the app, you’ll notice flowers, leaves and maybe the odd bumble bee. The app’s entire UI revolves around this aesthetically pleasing plant-related art style, with petals as one of the key methods of interaction.
To kick things off, it’s a case of choosing a genre, with four suggested starting places around the edge, or the option to see a full list by hitting the ‘Genres’ button. Underneath this is the main means of music discovery, the UI; which now resembles a daisy, behaves as a rotating dial featuring nearly 30 different genres of music to choose from. Tapping any of those then offers up any relevant sub-genres and from there Bloom will launch into delivering music based on your tastes.
As music streams over your phone’s data connection, WiFi or 3G needs to be switched on when using the app. From the playback screen you can see the automatically generated play queue in the top right and skip through tracks as you choose, control playback at the bottom and even hit the discover button in the bottom left to see similar music choices to the artist you’re currently listening too.
There’s also a drop (of honey if you’re wondering) in the bottom right which brings us to the second section of the app. Although you need a data connection to stream, Bloom.fm’s paid service does in fact allow for offline playback, with packages dictated by the price. Users can choose from three plans if taking their favourite tunes offline is what they’re looking for. Bloom 20 costs just £1 a month and enables up to 20 songs to be stored offline, Bloom 200 costs £5 a month and allows for storage of (you guessed it) 200 songs offline and the final package costs £10 a month, dubbed ‘Full Bloom’ and allows for unlimited offline music storage.
In short the aesthetic is fun, the music library will soon have enough tracks to rival the big players in the space and the paid plans are pretty competative. It’s early days but we think Spotify should be worried.
Update 16/9/13: Bloom.fm is free to download on iOS from the App Store and as of today, from the Google Play store too, for you Android users out there. Go get it!