If you own a TV, you’ve probably heard of Glee. It’s Fox’s new big thing, starring a surprisingly pretty lot of “geeks” who not only happen to be able to belt out just about any pop tune you throw at them, but can find ways to squeeze those songs into situations where no one would generally be singing (like a guy telling a girl’s parents that he got their daughter pregnant), without anyone raising an eyebrow.
If you own an iPhone, you’ve probably heard of Smule. They’ve had more top iPhone apps (most of which have been music-oriented) than just about anyone else, with apps like Ocarina, Leaf Trombone, and I Am T-Pain in their roster.
Now, bring these things together – what do you get? You get beautiful, beautiful music — and one of the best uses of a content license I’ve ever seen.
Today Smule is launching the official Glee app for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
The premise of the $3 app is pretty fitting, given the subject at hand: you sing. The app comes preloaded with three songs from the show (“Rehab”, “Somebody to Love”, and “You Keep Me Hanging On”), and you can expand your catalog with new songs through In-App purchase for a buck each. The app will scroll the lyrics on your iDevice much in the same way that you’d see on a Karaoke machine, with a pitch chart at the bottom hinting at how well you’re doing.
Okay, great. Singing. Anyone can make a singing/recording app, right? Sure — but things start to get magical when Smule brings in stuff from the armory they’ve built up over past projects.
Lets say I can’t sing worth a damn — because I can’t. Smule has leveraged some of the pitch tweaking/correcting technology they built for I Am T-Pain here, enabling the app to turn the works of folks like yours truly (which sound like a cat fighting a chalk board) into something listenable in real time, on-the-fly.
Smule brings the whole thing together with their “Sonic Network” technology. See that globe over there? Each one of those glowing dots is a performance by someone else with the Glee app. You can share your recordings (on the globe, or via Twitter/Facebook/E-mail) in an effort to acquire fans, known here as “Gleeks” (“Glee Geeks”); the more “Gleeks” your performance has, the more likely it is that you’ll show up on the globe when people search for “Top Performances”.
Cooler yet, you can “join” people in their pre-recorded performances, creating new performances with your vocals harmonized together. Find someone whose voice just clicks with yours? You can start a Glee club of your own, automatically sending your fellow glee club members recordings for them to add their harmonies to.
Smule and Fox went all out here, taking the boring standard affair themed app to something actually worth opening more than once. Is it for everybody? Not at all – but given that Glee is up to just under 14 million viewers right now, I’d say there’s a pretty big market here.
You can find Glee for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad for $3 right here in the App Store – but in the mean time, check out the demonstration of the App by one of Smule’s own below.