In recent weeks, we’ve told you about many of the new and existing music streaming services available to iOS users. Today, we look at AUPEO!, whose iPad streaming app arrived on the scene this week, one week after its iPhone app debuted. While the service looks very much like many of the others, the way it offers users a premium account is most interesting and makes it unique.

Based in Berlin, Germany, AUPEO! serves as a competitor to Pandora, last.fm, and to an extent, Spotify. In general, it offers music streaming across various platforms in a station-like format that is most similar to Pandora.

Currently, in addition to being available for the iPad and iPhone, the service is available through the Internet as well as through other internet-ready devices.

The service is available in two varieties: free and premium.

AUPEO! Free

By default, all new AUPEO! users are assigned a free account. Like with similar services, a subscription to AUPEO! Free offers online streaming of music powered by the occasional advertisement and includes a number of limitation missing using the Premium plan.

Our advice is to sign up for an AUPEO! account directly from their website and not through the app. The reason why this is important will be much clearer in a bit. When you sign up, you’ll be asked for your preferred music genre, which can be changed at anytime, your email, and a username and password. Later on, you can also select a subgenre of music and mood.

In total, 120+ stations are available.

The first thing you’ll recognize about the AUPEO! for iPad app is its brilliant interface. In fact, it’s one of the best we’ve seen in its simplicity and design.

In the middle of the screen, you’ll find three movable boxes.

Play/Pause

The first contains information on the song that is playing, including its title, artist, and album. It is here you are able to rate the song (Love or Hate), expand to full-screen mode, or move to the next song on the station. You can only forward so many songs before hearing an advertisement using the free version. Plus, at some point, you’ll actually have to listen to an entire song before forwarding again.

In addition, it is here where you can purchase the song that is playing via a link back to iTunes.

AUPEO! - Full Screen

AUPEO! - Full Screen

More Music

Included here is the ability to change your preferred genre, subgenre and/or mood.  In addition, you’ll have easy access to the service’s Featured music, Stations, and Artists from this screen as well.

History

The final box is best described as the place that tracks your AUPEO! movements, including genre changes and recommended tips.

Finally, towards the bottom of the screen, you’ll see links to featured artists and stations. These change often, which is definitely a nice touch.

AUPEO! Premium

An upgrade to AUPEO! Premium is available for $4.95 per month or $49.95 for the entire year. This means, when you pony up for a yearly subscription, you’ll actually get twelve months of service for the price of ten.

A premium account includes the following features:

  • No advertisements
  • Full control over your AUPEO! Music DNA
  • Improved audio quality
  • One account for unlimited hardware devices
  • Unlimited skips

Surprisingly, all new AUPEO! users actually begin with a trial Premium account with a length that is determined by a number of factors.

First, just by signing up for AUPEO! gives you a free seven-day Premium trial. Then, if you offer up more of your personal information (location, phone number, etc.) you qualify for more Premium days. Finally, you can invite up to three friends to join the service. In doing so, you can collect an additional seven days of Premium service for free for each friend. To collect these days, be sure to register via the AUPEO! website. Doing so within the iPad app is next to impossible at the current time.

In total, you can receive AUPEO! Premium for free for up to 42 days without giving them your credit card information.

If you’re as confused by this free-to-premium plan, you’re not alone. While it’s nice to be able to enjoy all that AUPEO! has to offer without spending a dime, getting it seems far more confusing than necessary.

Summary

We’ve been playing around with AUPEO! for a while now and have no qualms in recommending it to our readers. In fact, we suggest doing what needs to be done to get your Premium account for free for 42 days. However, thereafter we’re not so sure spending money for the service is really worth it.

For one, even Premium members cannot save music to their iDevices, like Spotify Premium members can. No matter the package, AUPEO! is, at its core, only a streaming music service that requires an Internet connection.

Second and finally, we found the service only includes 900,000 tracks. This is considerably less than most competitors.

Despite all this, we do recommend trying out AUPEO! via your iPhone or iPad.