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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

LongPlay: Listen to your favorite albums

Display of albums

There’s an iOS music utility I’ve been loving for a while now, and when I praised it during the 2020 Upgradies I realized I’d never written about it.

It’s Longplay, a $3 app by Adrian Schönig. What it does is incredibly simple: It shows you the albums in your Apple Music library. You can sort them by personal popularity, in alphabetical order, grouped by color, or (very cleverly) to highlight albums you love but haven’t listened to in a while.

You swipe around in Longplay and tap on an album to start playing it. The playback actually happens in the Music app (sorry, it’s not compatible with Spotify), so you don’t have to manage Longplay as if it’s a different player app. It’s just a way to pick an album and listen to it from start to finish. Which is a joy, even in this era of readily available playlists both curated and algorithmic. (You can opt to display favorite playlists as well.)

Though I am still primarily powered by Apple Music’s ALT CTRL playlist these days, in 2020 I made an effort to listen to albums when I was listening on my iPad while writing. Though most of my 2020 listening ended up being focused on The 1975’s Notes on a Conditional Form and Taylor Swift’s Folklore, I also revisited a bunch of old favorites, including Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories and Death Cab for Cutie’s Transatlanticism.

Steve Jobs was famously obsessed with album art, and his enthusiasm sometimes led Apple into weird user-interface choices in both iTunes and the Music app. But he would’ve loved Longplay—and I do, too.

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