Thursday, October 4, 2012

EMI Records releases an interesting, if crippled, new iPad app for the Blue Note jazz label; app developed by Chicago start-up Groovebug

Prior to the introduction event for the iPhone 5, rumors swirled around that Apple was interested in launching a music streaming product, possibly similar to Pandora. One can understand why, both Pandora and competitive platform Spotify are tremendously popular, and in many people's minds, represent the future of music broadcasting.

But, of course, the key is inking those content deals with the record labels. No deals, no music.

Apple is already a big player in the music business, and no doubt the labels are a little leery in letting Apple get even more entrenched into their business.

That won't stop other players from developing new products, though – or stop the labels from experimenting themselves.

Today, an interesting and pretty exciting new app for the iPad was launched by EMI Records. Developed by Chicago start-up Groovebug*, the app offers a subscription music streaming service for the legendary jazz label Blue Note.

If you are a jazz fan you probably already know all about Blue Note. If not, though, this new app, Blue Note by Groovebug is an essential download.

For $1.99 a month, music lovers get access to a treasure trove of great jazz. Great artists such as Art Blakey, John Coltrane and Miles Davis are here.

The app itself is very well designed and comes with biographical information, LP notes and details, and news articles to read.

It is almost perfect. Well, almost.

In fact, one wonders if in the eyes of EMI Records if the app goes too far. It is exactly what a music lover would want. So what has to happen, of course, is the app has to be crippled in some way.
The way this is done here is to make sure that random LPs from the artists are missing, and that not all the tracks can be accessed.

At first I thought that maybe this had something to do with what is available in Apple's iTunes. If you've ever gone shopping for music there you know that you can either buy individual tracks or the whole LP. So on the classic Freddie Hubbard LP Hub Cap, for instance, the longest track on the LP, Luana, is not available for purchase – you'll have to buy the whole LP.

But inside the new Blue Note by Groovebug app Luana is there – instead its Cry Me Not that is missing. It doesn't make any sense to me, and seems totally random.

Further, while three great LPs are available in the new app, six other Blue Note LPs that were released by Hubbard are missing.

One could certainly understand EMI's position: what to offer listeners for a modest subscription price? what is access to the whole catalog worth?

If the purpose of Blue Note by Groovebug is to acquaint listeners with the label, this app succeeds wonderfully. It is certainly worth $1.99 per month.

* The app also mentions that it is "powered by The Echo Nest."

Update: Jeremiah Seraphine, CEO and Co-Founder at Groovebug, posted a commented on the TNM YouTube channel that I think is worth posting here:

"There are LPs and songs missing from the app now, but more will be added as rights are cleared. There are now hundreds of hours of music available with new updates on the way."

Here is a walk through the newly released Blue Note by Groovebug iPad app. The nice thing about music apps, especially this one, is the audio.

Groovebug has also produced a very nice promotional video, as well. You will be able to find that after the jump.

Here is the promotional video produced by Groovebug:

1 Comment:

Lee Jarvis said...

I understand your 'crippled' analysis, but at some point there has to be some kind of pay off for the decades of music and culture and the thousands of hours of work that has been put into the app. Hopefully you will find it a fair balance! ~Lee