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Sharing music was easier in the days of boom boxes and giant hi-fis that filled a room with sound. Now our music -- and devices -- are more portable, which is awesome, but if you want to share your tunes with a buddy you're stuck sharing headphones or using a splitter (which keeps you tethered together) or listen via your device’s tiny built-in speaker. With MyStream, you can use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to play the same songs on two devices.
Setting up is easy, aside from the fact that you have to manually disable Wi-Fi via the Settings app in order to listen via Bluetooth should the former not work for some reason. It’s not a flawless connection and glitches do happen, like the list of available streams not refreshing itself so you may end up trying to connect to playlists that are unavailable. Also, if the person whose device you’re listening to turns off their app, there goes your music.
People connecting to your device won’t see all your songs, just the tracks that you’ve imported into MyStream - which means that you have to do all the work of setting up a playlist, but at least others won’t see those embarrassing tracks you keep forgetting to remove from your device! DRM-protected songs can’t be added to your list.
As you listen to your tracks from within MyStream, others on the network can see what you’re listening to. If someone wants to listen to the same song, they connect to your stream and tap on the track. Listening is almost synchronized: they’re only a couple of seconds behind you, but they can listen to the whole song to the end that way. Annoyingly, you can only listen to the first 90 seconds of a track if you select it from the streamer’s playlist (i.e., you’re not listening to the same song they’re listening to). If you want to hear any more, there’s a handy Buy button that connects you to the iTunes Store.
The bottom line. MyStream is a clever idea and the technology is impressive when it works, but there are many limitations which may frustrate some users. However, since the app is free, there’s no reason not to give it a go and try it for yourself.
iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 4.2 or later
Free. Can share music with people anywhere within range of Bluetooth or your local Wi-Fi network. Clear instructions and simple setup.
No search field when building, editing, or browsing through the MyStream playlist. Have to listen to your music within MyStream for others to see what you’re listening to. Have to manually turn off Wi-Fi in order to access Bluetooth if an available network isn’t compatible. Can’t scrub through music to fast-forward or rewind the song. Can only listen to a minute and a half of each shared song. Doesn’t take advantage of the iPad’s larger screen size if used on that device.