In a post-iTunes world, where practically any song can be played whenever you want for a nominal monthly fee, music-previewing apps are fighting an uphill battle. HABU Music attempts to fight the good fight by carving out their own specialized niche in the music app empire via song labeling. It’s a decent idea, but HABU will need a little more refinement to become a must-own for serious audiophiles.
The app has two main features – the first sorts the music that users have on their iPhone into categories based on the mood of the song. There are 25 main categories like “Aggressive,” “Rowdy,” “Somber,” and “Sophisticated” that tunes are placed in. Users can also drill those 25 categories into 100 more specific sub-categories like “Dark/Groovy” and “Powerful/Heroic.”
It’s a neat idea, and for anyone with a nice amount of music on their iPhone, it works great. But for those carrying iPhones with limited storage capability while possessing huge music libraries, HABU just doesn’t work. I still have most of my music on a 120 gig iPod Classic, choosing instead to leave my iPhone storage space for games, photos and other miscellaneous things.
The music not on my iPod is usually found quickly via the Spotify app on my iPhone, but HABU doesn’t sync up with Spotify, so any listening I do there is irrelevant to the HABU experience. This issue of compatibility isn’t surprising, and for most people it probably won’t be a deal breaker, but it severely lessens how useful HABU is for a listener like myself.
HABU’s other main feature lets users check out preview clips of a number of songs in the previously-mentioned mood categories. Users can then purchase the song they’ve previewed for their personal use via an iTunes link right in the app. There’s nice value in being able to preview any number of songs, but for some, streaming apps like Rdio and Spotify have made previewing songs (and purchasing them for a dollar a piece!) as novel as buying a CD.
How useful you find HABU Music really depends on what sort of music listener you are. If you have a modest music library that you carry on your iPhone and you often purchase songs out of iTunes, HABU Music is a cool way to organize your music by mood rather than artist or album. If your life is overloaded with tunes and you’re already using music streaming apps, HABU won’t bring much to the table, not until it finds away to meaningfully interact with those music-streaming apps.