The app-watching world spun into a tailspin late this week after former Lala founder and startup wunderkind Bill Nguyen re-emerged with a new app called Color. The chatter has less to do with the app itself and more due to the company's ability to raise $41 million in financing from such big-name VCs as Sequoia Capital and Bain Capital before the app even went live.
The app is similar to many of the location-based music apps we've seen emerge recently but focuses on photos rather than tunes. Photos taken from phones using the app are tagged to the location where they are taken, and all other app users can then browse all the photos taken in that same location (think music festival or concert venue). Users can limit their photo sharing to pre-approved groups of friends as well.
UMG's Nirvana, Rush & Rolling Stones Get iPad Apps:
Universal Music Group is toying with the iPad through a trio of new apps tied to Nirvana's "Nevermind," Rush's "2112," and the Rolling Stones' "Ladies & Gentlemen… The Rolling Stones." The apps are basically documentary-like films featuring video interviews, live performances and music videos. All contain content that can be downloaded and viewed offline. And all have a social element that let users share and comment on any clip, video or photo contained in the app. Each also features each song on their corresponding album, but only sample, not full versions. This is UMG's first stab at the iPad app market. The Nirvan app is $6, the Rush app $7 and the Rolling Stones app $8.
Owl City Galaxy:
In advance of the May 17 release of his new album, Owl City released an iPhone app that anyone pre-ordering the album can get for free. It's a mini social network designed just for Owl City fans, that gives members access to things like an exclusive bonus track not included in the album, an events calendar with early access to show tickets and merch, lyrics and so on.
This magazine app features the typical content you'd expect-hip-hop news, content from the magazine, hip-hop trivia etc-but also a few extras that help it stand out. First is a feature called "Ready or Not" that lets users record a 30-second freestyle rap and submit it to the XXL website, where readers can listen and rate it. Those with the most votes may be featured in the app itself, written about in the magazine, or potentially even signed to a deal (we'll see about that). Another feature is called "Where They At" which lets users find the location friends who also have the app. Finally "Tweets Is Watching" lets users keep track of the Twitter feeds of the artists they select.
The Shazam music ID app got an update this week that allows users to share what song's they've identified through the service with both other Shazam users and to Facebook and Twitter. Friends receiving the feed can then listen to 30-second samples of each song, link to buy the song in iTunes, watch music videos, read reviews and access other information about the artist and the song.