Keyluminati’s Heavy Metal Emoji Keyboard — the third-party app that arrived at the iOS App Store on June 16 — moved 5,000 to 10,000 downloads within its first seven days of availability, according to Keyluminati principal and app co-creator Mark Mosley.
Mosley finds the numbers encouraging, “especially in a space where everything is just pop music … it’s amazing to see heavy metal do well.”
Keyluminati was launched six months ago specifically to develop the keyboard. Mosley, a longtime metal-music promoter in Nashville — he works with Vans Warped Tour and Warped Tour-style bands — got the idea after a friend of his wife’s sent her a goth emoji app. Mosley checked it out and found the experience lackluster.
“[I thought], ‘I wonder if there’s a heavy metal one,’ because that’s probably my favorite genre of music,” he says. “I searched to see if there was a heavy metal one. There was not, so from there it just becomes having to find someone to do the artwork.” Mosley is friends with Demon Hunter frontman Ryan Clark, who is one-half of design/illustration company Invisible Creature, so Clark handled the artwork.
So far, Mosley says the app’s devil faces, devil horns and some of its face graphics are the most popular. He plans to incorporate about 50 more emojis in the next few weeks, and free expansion packs will be added based on feedback. “We’re adding a couple very specific female faces because we got some feedback saying we don’t have enough females,” he says. “We’re also adding more emotion-type things, simple things like thumbs-up, thumbs-down, angry faces, sad faces, more expressive faces to try to diversify it.” (Psst: A lighter “is on the short list.”)
He also hopes to introduce band-oriented expansion packs, “especially for bands that have theatrical elements, like Ghost or Gwar or Slipknot, bands that have a very specific theme or look.” He declined to mention what bands he has been in preliminary talks with, but says conversations have been “very positive. Everybody seems very open to the idea.”
“We have the ability to relaunch full apps, so I would love to do a Metallica emoji keyboard where it would be a completely stand-alone app because we have the ability to do that. That would be amazing,” he continues. “As far as expansion packs, Ghost is probably No. 1 on my [wish] list, because they have a very rabid fanbase. Everything Ghost does, people respond to it. They’re in a very cool position of growth, which is something we would idealistically look for.
“I think sometimes there’s this conversation, ‘Do people like rock ’n’ roll?’ or ‘Is heavy metal dead?’ When Justin Bieber releases something, of course it’s going to crush because he has a rabid fanbase. So to see something released specifically geared toward fans of heavy metal and heavy music and have it get such a positive overall response is actually really encouraging for me — not just as a businessperson, but as a fan of heavy music.”