955 Dreams is on a roll. They’ve released five iOS apps so far, and all five have been featured by Apple as an “App of the Week”. Band of the Day is the latest one, earning the distinction this week.
And the app earns the title. I’ve been trying it out for the past couple of weeks and it’s a great way to discover new music. Unlike Pandora which relies on algorithms, or some of the other music services that rely heavily on social, Band of the Day brings a straightforward and old-school approach to music discovery: humans pick a band to highlight each day.
But they do so in a beautiful way, custom tailoring content within the app for that band. You get music, videos, bios, and even a robust review written by 955 Dreams’ editorial team. Naturally, if you decide you love the music, buying it via iTunes is only one click away.
Just as important as the content is how it’s presented. Fans of the 955 Dreams apps On the Way to Woodstock and History of Jazz will be well aware of the team’s attention to detail. Talking with co-founders Kiran Bellubbi and T.J. Zark, it almost sounds as if they work for Apple. Bellubbi talks about the importance of “emotive” products, and feels they’ve nailed it with Band of the Day.
Rather than taking existing content and trying to shove it into an app, they thought about what a music app should look like from the ground up, Zark notes. And unlike with Way to Woodstock and History of Jazz where 955 Dreams had the luxury of designing for the iPad’s big screen, they had to fit Band of the Day onto the iPhone screen (an iPad version is in the works too).
And the goal was to keep the app under 20 MB (so you can download it over 3G) and make it so a user would never see a loading screen. “We’ve broken our backs to make that happen,” Bellubbi says.
Band of the Day is also trying to disrupt the market with a new model. While the app itself is free and comes with a free week’s worth of music, you then must pay either $0.99 a month or $9.99 a year to continue accessing new music each day. If the app is a hit, 955 Dreams should find a lot of money coming their way.
And the team absolutely expects the app to be a huge hit. Bellubbi lays out his vision for Band of the Day on one out of every three iPhones out there in the world. They hope it becomes the way for new musical acts to get discovered. And the music labels are on board with this as well — already over 50 different labels have signed on to distribute music this way.
But don’t expect to see Band of the Day (or any of 955 Dreams’ other apps) on Android any time soon — the team only has interest in designing for iOS.
You can find Band of the Day here in the App Store.