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R.E.M. launches free iPhone/iPod Touch application

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As if they weren’t cool enough, R.E.M. launched its own iPhone/iPod Touch application this week, free of charge to any fan interested in keeping close with the Athens, GA trio. The move couldn’t come at a better time, considering the band’s currently in the studio prepping their follow up to 2008’s jaw dropping comeback album, Accelerate. But wait, there’s more.

While the application will deliver all the on-the-spot news — straight from the studio, no less — fans will also be alerted of new tour dates and other events going down. It’s a one-stop R.E.M. media vault, too. In addition to the band’s entire discography, which will sport 30-second samples per song, full-length videos and photo galleries are accessible at any time. What’s really hip, though, is a mini-guide, utilizing Google Maps, that highlights various sights in Athens to check out. Maybe we’ll find out where Michael Stipe orders tacos from, or where Peter Buck gets his hair cut. The possibilities are endless!

And no application would be complete without some social networking interfaces. Along with the above, the application offers a chance for fans to post the photos and videos they snagged at the band’s shows. Another feature (yes, they keep coming) is called R.E.M. & You. While ultimately stupid, the feature asks fans to upload photos of themselves listening to R.E.M. songs, which they’ll be able to tag to each individual song. (On a side note: Let it be known that anyone who actually uses that feature is an idiot.) In an unsurprising move, given that it’s an Apple application, naturally you’ll be able to download any and all R.E.M.-related digital merchandise through iTunes.

Save for the R.E.M. & You feature, this is admittedly a pretty snazzy companion for any fan. It’s just a shame everyone’s on Sprint, Verizon, or T-Mobile these days. Apple, can you do something about that?

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