BAMM.tv has spent the last year or so shooting and producing live concert videos, both in its own studio and on-location at events like SXSW. The result is an impressive library of live music videos — it’s got more than 70 hours of material from 175 artists. In addition to live performances, it’s also produced a few series of episodic content, as well as some documentaries.
That content has lived on the company’s website, which provides a rundown of all the artists and different genres of music that are represented. But at the end of the day, while there’s a ton of content there, it’s not exactly the most immersive or easy way to get at its content.
All of that is why BAMM.tv built its new iPad app, which is launching today.
The app is designed to look like a virtual music venue, allowing users to watch videos, learn more about different bands, engage with musicians via social media, check out tour schedules, and even purchase tickets to upcoming shows. The app allows users to navigate through various playlists curated by the BAMM.tv staff, and there’s a gamification aspect that lets users unlock content like exclusive audio tracks or videos by engaging more with the content. They can also create their own playlists — or playmixes, as the app calls them — of their favorite songs or videos.
According to co-founder and CEO Chris Hansen, the app has elements that are meant to inspire nostalgia for analog music formats — for instance, and old-time TV or cassette-tape icons for viewing or listening to content in the app, and liner notes to learn more about the bands. That said, all the music and videos are formatted in HD to take advantage of the iPad’s display.
While most video sites today pay upfront for licensing rights to video content, BAMM.tv is trying to establish a new model for partnering with and paying artists. It works like this: BAMM.tv has negotiated global rights to the performances and other content from performers. In exchange, BAMM.tv will share all profits that it makes, dividing those proceeds based upon the number of views that various performers get on the app and on its website.
In addition to advertising, BAMM.tv has also struck deals with global distribution partners, such as Samsung, Mozilla, Chunghwa Telecom, and others, in which they licensing, co-brand, or white-label the content in overseas markets. It makes videos to viewers available for free, but runs ads on the site and the app. There are opportunities for other monetization plans, such as in-app purchases of exclusive content or merch and other real-world goods, but with the initial release, BAMM.tv is just scratching the surface.
The BAMM.tv iPad app has a lot of cool music and videos to listen to and unlock, but to be honest, the whole thing makes it a little too hard to actually get and and interact with that content. The controls are non-intuitive and I spent a lot of time just clicking around to various spots on the app trying to figure it out. There are cool aspects to it — I actually do like the idea of navigating a virtual venue and unlocking new content — but the user experience around songs and video can be difficult to grasp.
Frankly, since this is an app built around content, it should be a lot easier to consume. While I understand the idea behind harkening back to a simpler time, the great thing about an iPad is that it can provide instant access to amazing content. The BAMM.tv app shouldn’t make users work so hard to get at it.