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NEXT Music

App review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
NEXT Music App Poster Image
Social music viewer/rhythm game hits wrong note with ads.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Created for entertainment purposes only. Not intended for educational use. 

Ease of Play

Chat and music browsing are easy; gameplay aspect has no tutorial and rules are unclear. 

Violence

No violence in the app itself, but user-created content and chat could contain references to or images of violence. 

Sex

Professional videos could have suggestive themes and imagery; user-created content and chat could contain suggestive images or references. 

Language

No profanity in the app itself, but user-created content and chat could contain bad language.

Consumerism

Ads are relentless, and the app pushes users to buy VIP packages and various kinds of premium currency.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

No substance use in the app itself, but commercial music videos and user-created content and chat could contain references to or images of smoking, drinking, or drugs. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that NEXT Music is a music-browsing app with a built-in rhythm game. The app lets users browse popular hits, tune in to live performances by amateur musicians and singers, chat with each other, and play a Guitar Hero-like video game. It contains live feeds from performers around the world, live chat, and a Message Center that requires connection to a Facebook account (Note: Once the app is linked to a Facebook or Google account, it can't be unlinked, "for security reasons"). Ads abound in the game part of the app, and users must watch ads to receive rewards, open rewards, and continue playing a failed level. An in-app store pushes users to purchase a VIP membership and various types of in-app currency. Energy-based gameplay also encourages the purchase of energy. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

NEXT MUSIC is a music app that lets users browse top 40 hits, more specialized music genres, and livestreamed performances by unknown DJs and musicians. Users start by creating custom avatars of themselves, complete with clothes and accessories. They can then browse video clips and livestreams, engage in live chat with other viewers, and send "Love" to performers in the form of stickers earned by watching ads or bought with real-world cash. Along with finding new music, users can play a single-player music-based rhythm game in the vein of Guitar Hero, which involves tapping a row of colored buttons in time with the music. Buttons are associated with collectible "Beat Monsters," which make gameplay easier and can be put onto Teams, upgraded, and equipped with special items. Users looking for a cooperative experience can join online multiplayer Crews and take on challenging multiplayer Raids. Both single and multiplayer modes reward users with currency, equipment, and vanity items like clothing and accessories for their avatars.

Is it any good?

This app recently changed format and name, and though the ability to watch live music in a social way is an interesting idea, the veritable flood of annoying ads puts a damper on the experience. At first glance, NEXT Music is pretty slick: It looks professional enough, with dynamic, colorful screens and easy navigation, and browsing top 40 hits and livestreams is as easy as tapping a link or swiping the screen. Following performers, sending them "Love," and commenting on their performances is also a snap. As with any app that involves chat, parents will want to set limits and check in about the connections and messages kids make and send. Song clips come with barcodes that let you hear the full songs through Spotify when you find one you like, and the app's basic rhythm game is simple to grasp -- so long as your reflexes are good. But after the first few minutes, the app's entertainment value takes a sharp nosedive. 

The first problem is a lack of instruction. The rhythm game aspect contains all kinds of collectibles and upgrades and items but doesn't tell you what they do or how to use them. If you want to learn how to play, you have to do an independent internet search for the developer's website. There's no link within the app. This omission makes rewards feel meaningless, and the various game-related menus confusing. Much worse than this, however, is the app's relentless advertising. Everything requires watching ads: continuing gameplay after making a mistake, earning rewards, even opening rewards. It's ridiculous, as is the blatant bid to make users pay for VIP memberships with ill-defined benefits, as well as five different forms of premium currency. Perhaps the developers weren't making money on the app before, hence the format change. Whatever the reason, despite NEXT Music's interesting features, its ad-heavy design and purchase pushes make it far less enjoyable.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about ads in apps like NEXT Music. What are the advantages of clicking on them? What are the disadvantages? 

  • Discuss your rules around using the chat features in apps. What information do you never share online? How do you deal with pushy or obnoxious strangers?

  • Think about how instant feedback encourages overuse. What app features make you want to keep playing or checking? How can you turn off those features when they become distracting?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free (optional in-app purchases for offer packages; VIP membership priced at $2.99 - $39.99)
  • Release date: August 2, 2017
  • Category: Entertainment
  • Size: 259.00 MB
  • Publisher: WRKSHP
  • Version: 3.2.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 10.0 or later; Android 4.1 and up
  • Last updated: August 19, 2019

For kids who love music and creativity

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