AWEDITORIUM AND THE DESIGN OF DISCOVERY
I’ve been checking out a couple of new, much-buzzed about online apps and tools this week — RockMelt and Auditorium. I’ll post my thoughts on RockMelt after I play with it a bit more. As for Aweditorium,, which is free for the iPad, I need to spend more than 20 minutes with it. But my first reaction is that it is kind of cool and also noteworthy for trying to do something different in the music discovery space. In film, we talk a lot about discovery, but this mostly boils down to discussions of social network sharing, recommendation engines, etc. Aweditorium has put its finger on something that was part of old-school discovery and updated it for the iPad: graphics, photography and design. Also, Aweditorium understands something about the pleasures of browsing, what made killing an afternoon at a record store by flipping through its stacks, something fun in its own right. It is attempting to make digital discovery into a more sensory-fulfilling experience.
Briefly, Aweditorium is an iPad app that fills your screen with a grid containing hundreds of tiny thumbnails. You click on one and it fills the screen with a picture of the band and/or singer, and a music track starts. Sometimes lyrics are scrolled, and always there are these little pop-up-video-style factoids they give you info on the music you are hearing. Another button opens up a small video window that can be full-sized, and there are plenty of sharing options.
It just launched and it’s by no means perfect. It needs filtering capability. Right now, you just have to drift from thumbnail to thumbnail regardless of your taste in music. (That’s also, I guess, part of its appeal — you can’t self-select.) And I suspect that as cool as the format it, it might get old quickly. Still, I like the direction Aweditorium is going in and it got me thinking what a re-imagined discovery engine for independent film might look like.
For programmers, the app has some other cool traits, as James Miao tells Robert Scoble, below.