I Want My (Streaming) Music Video Apps …To Actually Work

Every once in awhile, I miss my old school MTV.  Remember that?  The one that had actual music videos that were sandwiched between some commercials and anecdotes from VJs like Martha Quinn and J.J. Jackson?  I miss that.  Well flip forward about 30 years and now, surprise, there’s an app or three trying to get me back into the music video feel.  But which one?

First up, when thinking streaming video on the Internet, the mind should think YouTube.  One can always find lots music videos on YouTube.  You can also find cringe-worthy covers, lip dubs, unofficial low quality copies, uninspired slideshows, parodies, and maybe, just maybe, the actual video released by the artist.  Navigating and finding the right video can take awhile.  Worse still, the YouTube App on my device requires high quality streaming (sounds nice) through my slow bandwidth internet connection at home (well, it sounded nice).  Unfortunately, my home connection allows me to mostly get to see the first five seconds before my iPad or iPhone gives up.  I avoid the YouTube App as much as possible for this reason.

Side Note:  If you MUST watch a video on YouTube on a mobile device, use their mobile website ( http://m.yahoo.com ) instead of launching an App.  Their website actually lets you turn down the video quality which prevents the stuttering and stops that a low bandwidth connection causes.  Once you find a video you want to watch, just tap the “HD” icon.

You’d think that MTV would be able to create an App that would give you that MTV experience.  They didn’t think.  Just as MTV cannot be defined easily as Music Television anymore, they chose to not just define one App.  Instead, they’ve created a swarm of MTV branded apps that have narrow focuses on TV shows like Jersey Shore, News, or Beavis and Butthead.  Nothing is clear cut to provide a video watching experience.  Most are just meant to augment their programming.  If MTV is a must, get the MTV News and “MTV Watch With.  Skip the rest unless you’re a fan of a specific show.

While other apps I’ve looked into are very niche to a particular artist or album, a reoccurring company kept popping up…VEVO.  VEVO is a partnership of media companies Sony, Universal, and Abu Dhabi.  They also also license content from other media companies.  While you get a lot of artists to select from, be warned that a few may not be in available.  VEVO also makes their own App.  Using a minimal and elegant interface you can quickly hone in on a particular video or artist of interest.  Music videos will begin buffering in the background as trivia snippets or a quick advertisement appears.  Even on my slow connection speed, I was able to get very high quality streams on my iPad with no skips and stops like Youtube’s built-in app; Quick response, great quality, perfect playback.  You can also find tour dates, interviews, and making of videos.

And that’s that…download Vevo.  Use YouTube’s mobile site for anything not on VEVO.  And rely on MTV’s Apps only if you must.