Parents looking for a curated selection of music and videos that’s a little more kid-friendly than YouTube have another option now, thanks to the launch of Jitterbug.tv. The new iPad app is the first subscription-based music service for kids, and is targeting the 2-7 age range. Included in the app are videos and music from top kids artists like 23 Skidoo, The Jimmies, Laura Veirs, Milkshake Music, The Verve Pipe (yes, they’re a kids’ band now), Recess Monkey, and Gustafar Yellowgold.
I know, I know. If you don’t have kids, you’re like who the heck…wait, Verve Pipe? What? But if you are a parent of a young one, you’ll recognize at least a few of those names. (Sadly).
The app is reminiscent of another one we briefly reviewed, called Happly for iPad. Like Happly, the new Jitterbug app serves up a curated selection of videos, but Happly is focused on more educational fare pulled from YouTube, which it combines with other content, like stories and games. Jitterbug, meanwhile, is all about the music.
It’s also not entirely free. The app itself is free to download and try for 15 days, but continued usage requires a $3.99/month subscription. That payment gives you, well… your kids, access to ad-free music from rock, pop, hip hop, folk and acoustic genres, and the revenue generated through the app is shared with the artists featured on the platform. (In other words, it’s not just a slapped together selection of stuff from YouTube). In addition to videos, audio content is available as well. And both are accessible on the iPad or on the web.
As far as the app itself goes – the experience is OK. Once signed in, videos and music are in separate sections, laid out with easy-to-browse thumbnails, and play controls are simple enough for young users. The biggest complaint, besides the fact that the app lacks a true native feel, is that you can’t register for an account from the app itself – you have to sign up first on the website. No, scratch that – the biggest complaint is the lack of offline streaming. (That may not be a concern if you have a 3G/4G iPad, however).
If you’re wondering why something like Jitterbug makes sense for parents, then you’re either A) not one or B) haven’t stumbled across the YouTube horrors that are Elmo telling baby “f*** you,” holding a knife, exploding, or generally terrorizing kids. Hilarious, sure…until you spend the next few months dealing with your kids’ nightmares. Is your sleep worth $3.99/month? That’s the real question you should ask yourself.
Jitterbug LLC was co-founded in 2008 by Grammy winning music mixer Dan Gellert and Randall Green, previously the CEO of Spanish-language video service Butaca.tv and co-founder of Butaca.tv parent Veranda Entertainment. The company is based in L.A.