Pure Music hands-on

Can this half price offering take down Spotify? We go ears-on via iPhone, desktop and a Pure ONE Flow radio

Pure Music – range of artists 

Thanks to its partnership with We7 Digital, Pure Music's catalogue is an eye-watering 15 million tracks. Apart from the obvious artists who simply won't budge on the streaming front, we had no problem finding enough music to keep us going – even obscure soundtracks. As a comparison, Spotify's quoted as having 15m+ tracks.

But – and this is a big but – it's not set in stone how many of the 15m tracks will be streamable and how many will be download-only – whereas our trial let us roam free. So stay tuned for the December launch to get cold, hard figures for what your £4.99 a month will get you.

Pure Music – usability

Setting up your radio device/smartphone, making playlists and viewing tagged tracks all happen at, a clean and well organised portal to Pure Music's massive catalogue of music and on-demand content (podcasts etc). Since it doesn't fall too far from the iTunes/Spotify tree, the left hand menu and icon grid layout is a doddle to use.

In terms of usability with your Pure internet connected radio, this will completely depend on your model – the ONE Flow's lack of touchscreen or well, anything but that pesky dial, can test your patience sometimes. Then again, how many people can say they pump out tons of internet radio stations and millions of tracks from a sub £100 radio?

Pure Music – Pure Lounge iPhone app

It's great that Pure Music has a free iPhone app straight out of the gates, in the form of Pure Lounge – meaning that you get access to all your playlists, and any other track, on the move. Before you jump ship from Spotify Premium's £9.99 offering though, Pure Lounge doesn't offer any caching of tracks so be sure to get an unlimited data plan first.

Tracks don't even buffer while you listen to them – so when your train goes through a 3G desert, your math rock will rudely cut out. But Pure has hinted that caching might be available at a higher price point so we'll play the waiting game. Android fans, an app is winging its way to the Android Market "soon".

See the app in action in our CES Unveiled video.

Pure Music – sound quality and speed

In terms of paid-for tracks, we're talking DRM free MP3s encoded at 320kbps that you can move to any computer or MP3 playerotherwise, it's 128kbps for streaming.

Using Pure Music via on a laptop/PC is generally zippy with a few seconds for each track to buffer. And we reckon trying out Pure Tags to bookmark songs you hear on the radio (via Shazam tech) could easily get addictive – it only takes a minute or so of your precious time to identify the track and stick it in the 'My Tagged Tracks' section of The Lounge for you to stream again later.

Pure Music – VERDICT

If you've already got a Pure internet connected radio at home, this is the music discovery and streaming service for you – it will tie in with how you already listen to music and save you some pennies on a Spotify sub.

But the Pure Music app for iPhone (and soon Android) needs caching, or at the very least buffering, functions to compete with the likes of Spotify and Napster for music on the go.

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