955 Dreams has put out some stunning iPad apps that help create a sort of digital album for tablets by packaging up multimedia into one very slick product. Now, the start-up is getting into the music discovery and content creation business with a new iPhone app called Band of the Day that introduces a new artist each day and comes with a lot of original exclusive content.
The iPhone app, which just launched and is now featured as the App Store app of the week, is more like a daily music magazine in that it spotlights bands, providing a bio, review of each artist and a handful of songs to check out. 955 Dreams selects the bands from about 100 labels it has partnered with. In many cases, the artists will be relatively unknown, though 955 Dreams has also signed with big labels like Universal Music Group.
The layout is extremely slick and manages to fit all the best aspects of digital publications into a small screen. Selecting a band on a specific date triggers a short animation and lets you access not only a review and bio of a band, complete with exclusive interviews, but also online social buzz shared by other users as well as some videos. Plus, you can listen to about three to six songs from the artist. There’s also a link to buy albums or single tracks, which takes you to iTunes.
Users can rate their favorite bands, songs and videos on Band of the Day and see a list of their past favorites. They can also share their discoveries online with Facebook friends. The app is free to download and includes a week’s worth of content. To continue getting new content, you need to either pay 99 cents a month or $9.99 a year. A subscription allows users to access all the app’s content at any time.
Co-founder Kiran Bellubbi told me 955 Dreams has hired music writers and editors to create Band of the Day’s bios and articles. He said that’s a departure for the company, which has previously done more to package existing content. But he said 955 Dreams really wanted to take its learnings from its iPad apps and turn it into something very engaging on a daily basis.
“We wanted to build an app that was for daily consumption with extremely high retention rates and we know how to build that well,” Bellubbi told me. “We’ve done long form, we wanted to build a daily short form app for users but we wanted to stay in music and help people figure out how to find music and connect with bands.”
It’s still early in the life of the app, but it feels like a cool way to discover new music. Users won’t enjoy every band, but every day there’s something new. And unlike traditional music magazines, this is really interactive, complete with audio examples of the music being covered. I’ll be interested to see how the business model works, too. It seems like a good value for users, but it also makes sense for the labels and for Apple, which can get a lot of referrals to iTunes. That’s probably one of the reasons it’s the app of the week.
Band of the Day shows that 955 Dreams is thinking bigger than just creating digital music albums. Bellubbi said the company is going to keep expanding and will put out products in the TV and edutainment space. You can download the app here.