Radiotracker 4 Platinum - Review

Radiotracker 4 Platinum - Review

Take full advantage of the wealth of music on the internet

Pros: Can capture multiple tracks at once. Searches for music genres or artists you select. Cheap way of getting music. Well-designed interface.

Cons: Legal questions on recording streams. Would be useful if it easily recorded specific shows, too.

Bottomline: Does what it says and finds and records particular music you’ve selected.

Price: £20

Manufacturer: Avanquest

There's an awful lot of music on the internet – several thousand radio channels pump out all genres of music, all day long.

Wouldn't it be good if you could capture that output, track-by-track, to play on a PC or copy to a media player? That's the idea behind Radiotracker. Now in version 4, Radiotracker looks up and monitors several internet radio stations at once – the exact number depends on the speed of your broadband connection.

It matches the tracks played to the ones in which you say you're interested and automatically copies them to the computer. Requests can be listed broadly, by specifying a music genre from a list of more than 70 – including industrial, ska, turntablism and folk – or more explicitly, by picking individual bands or tracks.

Radiotracker 4 can talk to other live Radiotrackers and compare notes, so that when a track is played that someone else's copy of the program is listening for, yours can start ripping it too. Even so, most tracks are faded in at the start, so you miss the first few bars. You often hear station IDs at the ends of tracks, too, which brings back memories of taping the Chart Show in the days before cheap CDs.

The program itself offers a rather crowded main screen, but it breaks it down into sections. On the left are details of the tracks being downloaded and the stations they’re coming from, along with the settings. On the right is a playlist of the tracks already ripped, along with transport controls for playback. The album cover and lyrics of the current track are displayed at bottom right.

Radiotracker 4 is a useful tool for building up a cheap and cheerful music collection, though tracks can be a bit rough at start and finish. One thing to note is that it's not technically legal to use it – or at least it is morally dubious. While no-one can catch or track you collecting tunes in this way, we wouldn't be entirely happy using it in the knowledge that the artists weren't getting paid for their work.

If you're using it to sample tunes before buying, though, it's less of a problem