It’s tough being a club kid. Pandora, Spotify and other sites have now made it easy to stream songs or even an album from the same artist. But digital rights issues make it hard to package DJ "mixtapes" of various songs and artists into a single chunk.
Thefuture.fm — a website and now a free iPhone app — promises to have sorted out the payment issues to allow free streaming mixtapes from more than 5,000 DJs, giving users the option to buy singles from the mixes.
If you’re not familiar with the DJ genre, Thefuture.fm provides a pretty good introduction by offering both most popular and featured mixes to start with. It also has a search function where you can enter the name of a DJ if you know one, or a song or artist that might be featured in a mix. But the app seemed to have trouble connecting to the servers, and we got no results. (A search for "Madonna" among DJ mixes should yield something.)
You can’t buy entire mixes, unfortunately. But you can purchase many of the individual songs by tapping the "Buy" button when one is playing, which sends you over to iTunes. Most of songs we clicked were available from Apple.
If you hear a mix you like, you can mark it as a favorite or for a "radio station" that will play similar content, a la Pandora. Unfortunately, the connection problems prevented these features from working as well.
Assuming the first-day glitches get patched, Thefuture.fm is a fun app for fans of DJ music to access what they like and for newbies to get a taste of the genre.