Since late 2009, Naxos has offered a mobile application, or “app,” for the iPhone that allows users to access content in Naxos Music Library (hereafter referred to NML).1 Beginning one year later, the app has also been available for Android devices. The NML app allows users to stream the entire NML catalog to their mobile devices, as well as access custom and institutional playlists. Users must have a personal subscription to NML, or have access to an institutional subscription, in order to use the app. Users access the app through NML’s playlist function.
To use the app, users must go to NML and create or log in to their existing “student playlist” account, which requires a user to enter his/her name and e-mail address and to create a password. The app gives users access to both personal and institutional playlists, which means students who attend a university that subscribes to NML may use the app to listen to any personal playlists they may have created, in addition to any course- or topic-specific playlist created by professors or account administrators at the institution. Users can create an unlimited number of playlists, but each playlist is limited to sixty tracks or four hours—whichever comes first—to optimize streaming. The login that the user created for the playlists is the same login he or she will use to log in to the app. Through the app, users may browse, search for, and listen to tracks much as they can through a browser, but building and editing playlists can only be done through the browser version of NML. Because users authenticate to the app through Naxos playlists and not via IP address or an institution’s proxy server, there is theoretically little responsibility for account administrators to have to troubleshoot questions about the app. It is safe to assume, however, that a user having difficulties with the app is more likely to approach his or her music librarian than Naxos technical support. Fortunately, Naxos has created both text-based2 and video3 tutorials to help users (and librarians) become better acquainted with the app and its features.
Users who are logged in to the NML app count toward an institution’s allocation for simultaneous users. The fact that a user [End Page 797] must log out of the browser version of NML to release his or her spot has long been an inconvenience to institutions. Thankfully, this is not the case with the NML app, as quitting the app logs the user out automatically. In addition, ten minutes of inactivity causes the app to log out.
Both versions of the app were tested for this review. The Android app was installed on a HTC Droid Eris running version 2.1 with a data plan through Verizon Wireless. The iOS version was installed on an iPad2 running iOS 6.2.1. I was not allowed to be logged in to both the iOS app and the Android app simultaneously; one of the apps would quit when the other app opened. There are a handful of differences between the Android app and the iOS app. One difference is the ability to view the app in landscape view—this is possible on the Android app, but not on the iOS app. The difference in file size between the two platforms is notable: the iOS app is 2.3 MB, while the Android app is only 359 KB. The iOS app may be installed on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and the iPad. If installed on the iPad, the app will initially appear sized for the iPhone or iPod Touch (1x), but may be resized to fit the screen of the iPad (2x) with enough loss of resolution to be noticeable—the text is pixelated but legible and the album art is grainy—but not enough quality loss to keep...