May 21, 2011 at 4:36 am

5 Great Smartphone Apps for Reading about Music

music magazineOne good thing about music: When it hits, you feel no pain. Another: Listening to it requires only one primary sense, hearing, so the other four (or five) are free to dive into whatever our multitasking minds desire.

In the old days — and as recently as 2008, before music magazines started dropping like the temperature in December — people would sometimes use their free hands and eyeballs to read about the music they were listening to, or wanted to be listening to. After music became something serious fans accessed mostly through computers, music blogs took over and Pitchfork in particular grabbed the reins.

Today, music goes in pocket-friendly devices also stocked with Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds, Facebook and whatever else you can rummage up out of an app store. With such distractions, it’s perfectly understandable to lament the loss of an antiquated tradition: full immersion into the music you’re hearing.

Fortunately, we found a few apps focused on the act of reading about music on mobile devices, keeping the idea (if not the business reality) of the music magazine alive. These five lead the charge, listed here in alphabetical order under the different strokes principle.

Music News packs nine old-school music magazines into one free, simple mobile app for the iPhone.

NPR Music delivers a wide variety of high-quality music writing for free, including some listening options, to the iPhone.

Rhapsody, yes, the music subscription service, has long had a policy of hiring knowledgeable staffers to write reviews of bands, and as such, it actually functions pretty well as a music magazine app for iPhone, Android and Blackberry.

The Fader app for Android or iPhone is a great option if you’re looking for a combination of authoritative music blogging and cutting-edge tunes, because the folks who work there are always on the lookout for undiscovered talent.

Finally, the Hype Machine Radio iPhone app we covered earlier lets you read about artists on MP3 blogs as you listen to their music.

Update (5/25): In related news, Filter Magazine just launched its own radio channel on the  Slacker music service.

(Image courtesy of Flickr.com/Kenta Hayashi)