Torch, a web browser based on Google’s Chrome platform, has been growing in popularity thanks to the features it brings along to the users. One of those is the great music integration, with ability to easily find and play almost any song or video on demand. Now the developers are branching out to the mobile market, not with the browser, but with a stand-alone music app designed for Android devices.
To get started, grab the free app that is now in the Google Play store. Upon first launch you will have the option to log in with Facebook, but it isn’t necessary – you can simply click “no thanks” and move on into the app.
What You Get
Torch opens to what is a rather cluttered looking screen, especially if you are using a smartphone, though it isn’t much better on my Nexus 7 either. The good side of that mess is all of the music that is right there before your eyes, ready to be streamed. Even better, this is only a very small snapshot of what the app offers – just a reminder of a few of the more popular choices available, and its just the top portion of an endlessly populating scroll that you can move down through.
Endless scrolling, however, is a tough way to find that tune that is stuck in your head and it is near useless if you are looking for something of a more obscure nature. Let’s face it, you can swipe your finger up the screen all day and you will not be able to find someone like the Stone Roses.
Thankfully there is a simple Search option that allows you to query the service by artist, album title or song. Results are displayed that change in real-time as you type your term. Final results are broken down into categories – for instance, my search for Stone Roses lists first the artist, then their two albums and finally their top tracks, with a link to display a more complete song list.
Tap a track or album to begin play. Controls are found at the screen bottom and consist simply of Play/Pause, Skip Forward and Skip Backward. Albums can be played as a whole or you can pick and choose tracks to your tastes.
Clicking on the artist name brings up a larger display of albums attributed to them, complete with cover art. To the right is an option for “Related Artists” and, as the name implies, this displays more musicians from the genre and aims to introduce you to others whom you may like to hear.
In the End
If you are looking for a great source of music and can’t pay the monthly fees that services such as Google Music All Access charge, then Torch Music is a great option. A few of the bells and whistles may be missing – there is no browsing by genre, no ability to create playlists and no personal radio stations. That’s all fine though. The old saying is that you get what you pay for, but in this case you are paying for nothing, but still getting quite a bit in return. That’s a deal that can not be beat.