I don’t want to come across as biased towards one particular smartphone make, but I do own an iPhone. Anyone with one of these things has to be familiar with the time wasting habit a lot of users have of scrolling through the app store at random, trying to find something new and exciting to light up the screen and give you a few moments of entertainment gratification before your train reaches it’s destination/bowel movement finishes/date returns from the loo.
It was in one of these moments (I’m not going to tell you which) I came across the fun little music app Discovr music.
It’s been attracting attention all the web because of the novel interface. You choose an artist as your starting point, I picked Reuben (I always test new music services with an enquiry about that band) and pleasingly a little bubble popped up on the screen with a grey photo of Jamie Lenman rocking out on guitar just about visible in it.
Then a quick tap on the Reuben bubble surrounded Jamie with similar bands each existing in their own little bubble, with a line connecting them to Reuben. Tapping on them brings up further bands more closely related to them…and so on, until you have a nice little musical mind map in the palm of your hand…if you’re using the iPhone version. It’s also available for iPad.
The bubbles float about pleasingly, and a double tap takes you to a bio page about the artist, where you can listen to some songs and find out why the app has linked them to the other bubbles.
I haven’t really used it for anything except entertainment value myself, and at 69p, the app works fine for that. It fills in a bit of time just tapping on bands, watching which bubbles pop up around them and where the app has drawn lines connecting them to each other. I ended up filling my screen several times but did I really discover any new music? Not really. Maybe I’m just not using it properly, not really taking it seriously, but the bubbles float around so majestically, bouncing off each other and gently tugging on each other via their little strings that I was put into a trance and forgot why I was using it at all.
Still, for those small fragments of time when you just want to see your phone’s screen light up with something interesting that you can interact with on about the same level as you’d play with bubble wrap, it’s perfect.
P.S. I’ve just bought the Mac app as well, as I was genuinely impressed with how well the app works. Maybe I’ll be able to take it a bit more seriously on the bigger screen, when I’m not distracted by anything going on in the real world.
Discovr Music – App store link