First look: Aweditorium For iPad Transforms Music Discovery

Rock Music

Photo: Christian Holmer via Flickr

Ever since I got my first Elton John album back in something like 1976 I have loved discovering new music.But in the age of MP3s and iTunes it just isn’t that easy.

How can you sift through a bunch of new bands you haven’t heard of before and get emotionally committed to them? It’s tough.

One year I stuck around for SXSW’s music festival and listened to a bunch of bands I hadn’t heard before.

That was magical. But it’s hard to have those experiences.

Don’t tell me to go off and listen to iTunes or Spotify, either. Those are great systems if you already are in love with a band or a musician. But how do you listen through hundreds of new bands, looking for one to fall in love with?

I didn’t have a good answer until I saw Aweditorium. It was yet another example of an app that was made for iPad. Made me feel like it was magical.

It presents a grid of new artists. I hadn’t heard of a single one. You use your hand to fly through the grid.

Up, down, left, right. Then you touch a band’s picture. And the music plays.

Nice. But now, what else is going on?

First, there’s a really great full-sized, high-res photo of the musician. Second, details about the musician shows up as I listen.

Finally, if the band really gets my attention, like Lissie’s “Wedding Bells” did, you can click a little icon at the bottom of the screen and see a video interview stored on YouTube. But wait, there’s more! Click HD and a music video of the band will start playing. It all looks awesome and it is awesome.

Get bored and you can hit the grid icon at the bottom right, go back to the grid, and find someone else.

Anyway, this is an app you really should download on your iPad. It’s free. Or, just watch the video to get an idea of how well this experience has been thought out. Simple, huh? But that’s the point. The iPad has changed our expectations of what apps should do. This one is a winner and I hope to see more. I call it the Flipboard of music, but that’s really unfair. Flipboard is the Aweditorium of social news.

It makes sense that this is a great app, too, because founder James Miao was the developer of thesixtyone, which was a great website for music discovery. They took what they learned on that site and started over on the iPad. Here’s a video with James that I filmed where he shows off Aweditorium.

Some things this leaves me wanting for, though:

1. I’d +love+ to see if any of my friends on Facebook were liking any of the music in this app. Imagine if a little number on each tile changed everytime another friend of yours “liked” that artist?

2. I want to go see a lot more of these bands now. I’d love to ask this app to tell me when my favourite artist was in town, so I could go and see them.

3. I want more more more. I’d love to have all sorts of music in this app, not just indie music.

These are little nits, though. This is an app I haven’t been able to turn off for hours.

What’s next? If you’re developing a great iPad app, I want to see it. [email protected]

UPDATE: Read what the Next Web has to say about it: gorgeous, immersive, music discovery for the iPad. MacStories says “you have to try it.”

Thanks to Rackspace (they pay me to roam the world looking for world-changing technologies and technologists). This video was developed for Rackspace’s building43, which has a shorter version of this video if you would like to check that out:


This article originally appeared at Scobleizer and is republished here with permission.

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