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Test Drive: Public radio app VuHaus offers excellent discovery via mobile video

VuHaus screencapPublic radio is often ambitious in its goals for curating and presenting great music, and the latest project to come out of the organization is a delightful response to recent trends favoring both mobile and video. Several venerable public radio stations have joined forces to power a new mobile app that focuses on recordings of live performances. VuHaus is free for both iOS and Android, and it’s definitely worth a look and a listen.

The videos here are produced by a group of public radio stations, including Seattle’s KEXP, Los Angeles’ KCRW, and Austin’s KUTX. You’ll find performances both in the studios or at other music venues. There’s even a chance to watch live broadcasts if you tune in at the right time.

Thanks to the combined music nerd power of these public radio stations, VuHaus is a great opportunity for music discovery. If you don’t see anything you want in the What’s New section, you can also try out playlists made by people at the public radio teams. These range from Artist of the Week spotlights to a round-up of Bonnaroo performers to city-specific collections. Or tap through the complete list of all artists on the app if there’s somebody particular you’re looking for.

Once you’re in the queue, the music discovery really takes off. When playing a video from the queue, you’ll automatically get recommended songs to follow up with based on the artist you just heard. As many as a dozen songs might get added to the list of what’s up next, giving you lots of opportunities to explore. But if you’ve already set what you want to hear, the app isn’t too pushy about making you listen to its suggestions; you can delete them with a single tap as a batch or by individual tracks.

The app does a great job of supporting the artists, with links to their tour dates in BandsInTown and to their artist pages in Apple Music for making purchases. Our only complaint about using VuHaus is that the load times can be a little slow in navigating between sections. We’re also not sure at this point what the business model is for the app. but it’s one that we plan to stick we for the foreseeable future.

Anna Washenko

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