Free Christmas music …but you get what you pay for

First impressions 

If you have people around to your house in the holiday season, you’ll know what it’s like trying to get everything ready for visitors.

You have to clear off the dining table, move the broken television out of the way, wrangle the cats into the spare room … oh, waitaminnit … is that just me?

Anyhoo, it’s hard to keep track of all you have to do as the date approaches, and inevitably something gets forgotten. More often than not, it’s an element like Christmas music that can be left behind as you wrestle with martini shakers and try to spear cheese and grapes together on a toothpick. Are those still in? Maybe it’s a retro party …. 

Sure, you’ve got an iPod, iPhone, iPad, Android this, and Samsung that, but how many Christmas tunes do you have loaded on any of them? Odds are good that you don’t have much call for “Jingle Bell Rock” when you’re on the treadmill in July, so you may find yourself with a very un-merry playlist indeed unless you think fast. 

Luckily there’s an app for that. Zaggle, Inc offers “Christmas Music – 10,000 FREE Christmas Songs!” as a free app with advertising (or for $2.99 without ads), promising to give you immediate access to Christmas carols aplenty. I wanted to see what the selection was like, so I downloaded the free version, and began scrolling. 

How it works 

The download is pretty simple, and then you’re greeted with a loading page, featuring a somewhat low-res musical note icon, followed by a green and red screen with familiar songs listed in white fonts. The color palette is all very seasonal. 

Now, the magnifying glass symbol on the bottom left that would normally indicate a search field, doesn’t reveal anything of the sort. You can just about see the bottom of the word “Search” behind it, but really all it does is give you the list of songs, in no particular order, so you have to scroll through them all. It’s a little bizarre, as you may think to yourself (as I did), “What would it have taken to list these alphabetically?” Anyway, let’s not harp … free, free, free. 

Between about every four songs you’ll see an image for another product. That’s one of many ads to which you’re subjected as this is a free app. The very first image encourages you to tap it, which takes you back to the App Store for the $2.99 no-ad upgrade. As I wanted to give this thing a thorough look-over, I paid out the money. Once I went back to my list, nothing had really changed, other than the fact that the images had now shrunk to one-liners, so not as obvious, but still there. Therefore, my advice would be to stick with the freebie. 

When you scroll through the songs, you’ll see a number of repetitions, as there are different versions of the top hits. You’ll also have a difficult time finding a known artist in the bunch, unless I’m behind the times for not knowing who “Bubblegum Octopus” is. 

Fans of the obscure will no doubt be fascinated by numbers such as “Christmas At Melrose,” “What Christmas Means 320,” and the endlessly cheery “The Loneliest Lonely.” If nothing else, you’ll be a star at the next pub quiz, able to answer all the difficult music questions. 

Once you’ve chosen the song you wish to hear, you can either stream it or download it. The latter will probably be pretty useful if you’re wanting to create a playlist for your party that doesn’t include “Thank God for Plastic” or other winners. 

Aside from songs, there are some spoken word tracks to peruse as well. “A Visit From St. Nicholas” is certainly worth a download, but just like the music, you have to find a way to separate the wheat from the chaff. I don’t know about you, but I’d swear that Hugo Weaving in the voice of Agent Smith from “The Matrix” is reading these stories. Take a listen. 

That’s really all there is to this app, so it’s pretty simple to use. 

When I tried it 

I could see both the advantages and disadvantages to Zaggle’s product quite early on. Sure, it was great to get a bunch of free Christmas music, but then trying to sift through all the dreck could be a bit time-consuming. There were many versions of certain carols, which obviously reduced the variety of songs available, and a good number didn’t appeal to me in the slightest. I did find a version of “Angels We Have Heard On High” by Sixpence None the Richer – a welcome addition to the list – but most of the artists were completely unfamiliar to me. 

As I mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t bother spending the money to erase the ads, as they’re a bit cheeky with them. They remove the images, but they still list the ads among the songs. You might think that when you tap on “Song Quiz!!” that you’re going to an included game, but nope – you’ll have to pay for it. 

Final thoughts 

This app is okay, but you won’t find a lot of your favorite songs here, and some of the choices are downright bizarre. Maybe I’m an idiot, but I don’t know where they get this “10,000” number from, unless they’re using base 2, as I calculated about 220 tracks on my screen, with lots of repeats. On second thought, I’m going to get my CDs out of storage. 

Pros:  

Free. An education in obscure Christmas songs. Allows for downloads. 

Cons:  

Not much variety. 10,000 songs, my eye. Very few known artists. 

Christmas Music

  • ~ 10,000
FREE Christmas Songs!

  • Cost: Free (or $2.99 for reduced ads)
  • 
Seller: Zaggle, Inc

  • Devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch

  • Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) 
10000_Christmas_Cards

As you can see, there are many versions of ‘Silent Night’ from which to choose.

10000_Christmas_Songs

Stream or download your favorite Christmas tunes to play.

Zaggle_sm

Look for this icon in the App Store if you want to give the app a try.

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