Road Test: New SPIN Magazine iPhone Apps

SPIN magazine rolled out a couple of new iPhone apps – and they’re delivering music reviews, live video, news and more.

Like all other magazines in the digital age, SPIN has struggled to keep its print audience. Wisely, they have rushed full-force into the online arena and they’re doing it quite well. Not only do they offer a website loaded with great information and multimedia, but also a flip-book online magazine that can be delivered via email. More recently, they have released an updated version of their iPhone app and a brand new app, SPINearth.

spinappFirst, the standard app offers an easy, quick way to see what’s new with SPIN. The app gives a one-button link to album reviews, news and photos. The reviews are up-to-date with the SPIN website and provide a quick link to iTunes where you can preview and purchase songs and albums. The news section gives quick, easy-to-read versions of the online content. And the photos are presented nicely, featuring snapshots from recent concerts and the like – turn your iPhone sideways to get a landscape view, flick the screen to see the next photo and click a button to get captions.

SPIN’s new iPhone app, SPINearth, has serious potential. Through a team of dozens of international and local correspondents, SPINearth offers live video of concerts from around the world. For example, I just finished watching a video of Pearl Jam and Chris Cornell perform “Hunger Strike” from their Temple of the Dog days at a recent concert at Gibson Amphitheater. The video itself was jumpy as hell – to be expected from user-generated videos, I guess. There are also updates from the correspondents as they travel and other interesting features.

Now the bad news. The SPINearth app crashes, and videos don’t always load. Also it’s a hog on the already-feeble iPhone battery. This app is a work in progress, so some bugs are to be expected. That said, it’s a great start.

Nice work, SPIN. Your move, Rolling Stone.