Three years. One thousand and ninety-seven bands. Back in late summer of 2011, in the heart of Silicon Valley, we — a tiny group of designers, developers, and music writers — weren’t sure if we’d ever hit this milestone. In an industry that’s increasingly automated, how would an app that runs 100% on human curation even survive? What would happen if people didn’t like our taste in music? Luckily for us, there has yet to be a music discovery service that can entirely replace the human touch, and from all the feedback we’ve received, you’ve appreciated our taste in music thus far. Today, as your virtual music geek friend (Amanda Van West - hi!) behind Band of the Day app’s sleekly-designed facade, I’m proud to have chosen Sydney, Australia’s The Vines as the band to celebrate our third birthday.
Many of you might already be well-familiar with The Vines. After all, their debut album Highly Evolved (2002) sold over 1.5 million albums worldwide, with singles like “Get Free” and “Outtathaway!” topping the charts and getting significant airplay. This was followed by 2004’s Winning Days, and had the band touring all over the world. One of those stops was in April 2004 at The Warfield in San Francisco, California. It was part of what was dubbed ‘The Aussie Invasion Tour,’ with The Living End and Jet rounding off the lineup. I was a senior in high school at the time and — after reading all the praise about The Vines in music magazines like NME, Rolling Stone, and Spin — my friends and I made the trek from the suburbs to the big city to finally see what all the hype was about.
As soon as they hit the stage and struck the first few notes, I was in awe of the wild and raw punk rock energy sparking through the air. Frontman Craig Nicholls’ face would distort as he’d snarl out self-loathing lyrics like, “She never loved me/why should anyone?” (‘Get Free’), with beads of sweat flying off of his shaggy ‘do. To put it briefly, it was a ferocious, electrifying performance. Anyone who was there that night wouldn’t have been surprised to see The Vines blow up even further.
But like many bands who experience a meteoric rise to fame, it’s not without consequence. After 2006’s Vision Valley, which didn’t achieve as much commercial success as the previous releases, the band was dropped from their record label. Still, they persisted and two years later released Melodia, the first album for their then-label Ivy League Records. This was followed by 2011’s Future Primitives, which was self-funded by the band. Both were solid releases, but still didn’t achieve the accolades of their first two albums.
Now in September 2014, The Vines are back with a two-disc album, Wicked Nature — arguably their finest album since 2002’s Highly Evolved. It’s been released completely independently, funded through a crowdsourced PledgeMusic campaign (http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/thevines). This album sees a new band lineup, with the rhythm section now made up of Tim John on bass and Lachy West on drums. Nicholls is still at the helm as lead vocalist and guitarist, but for the first time ever he’s also taken on the role of producer (with Paul Mckercher as co-producer for disc one). The result is a 22-song journey through everything from explosive punk rock (“Out The Loop”), to sludgy grunge (“Metal Zone”), to free-spirited psychedelia (“Truth”). It’s The Vines being true to their very core, a band that knows what they do best and have done it with fearless gusto. This is the type of album that we’ll be shamelessly blasting over and over again here at Band of the Day HQ, and we hope that no matter where you are in the world, you’ll take the time to crank it up and join the virtual party on our third birthday today.
And to all of the bands we’ve featured over the past three years, the labels we’ve worked with, the music publicists, the friends/family members/app users who have all said, “hey, have you heard about this band?”, I’d like to extend a huge THANK YOU on behalf of the Band of the Day family. Our app would be nothing without all of this incredible music, and we feel lucky every single day we get to share new tunes with the world. Here’s to making it three years, and for many more years to come! - Amanda Van West (@amandabomb)
955 Dreams ships beautiful Band of the Day app (and shows way to new three-screen strategy)
The three screen strategy. It’s something you will hear a lot about over the next few weeks. Phone. Tablet. TV.This innovative little startup shows how it’s done as they release Band of the Day, quite an innovative little app. Meet the execs behind it and get it at http://www.955dreams.com/
RCM Interview. Amanda Van West 'Band Of The Day' app.
As a blog that loves to champion incredible new music, we’re always on the hunt for great new sources of music recommendation and the Band Of The Day app is one of our favourites. We caught up with Amanda Van West to find out more. Firstly can you introduce yourself. Who are you and what…
Whilst chilling on the sofa at around 2am unable to retire to my slumber, I thought I’d go on a little adventure on my iPod. You know, tweet, download new apps and see what’s going on in the world of technology and music etc… and I discovered a new app which is RIGHT up my street! The app is called “Band of the Day” and the concept is basically that everyday a little pack of information and goodies about a new band/artist is released. It has a few duds, but on the whole is very good as it has a little something for everyone on it, from jazz to folk, rock to dubstep and so much more. It allows you to sample a few of the songs from that artist of the day, and every entry is archived so you can go back to it and listen whenever you like. And this is all for FREE.
So on October 2nd, I checked out Jonathan Boulet. He’s from Australia and fits in the folk-pop genre, with tribal beats and chilled out vibe. The song above is called “A Community Service Announcement” and is a beautiful example of what this guy is capable of. His vocals are easy going and although the song exerts a particular exuberance, it is really easy to listen to. The same can be said for the song “Ones Who Fly Twos Who Die”. I can definitely detect a Carnival edge to his music which can never be a bad thing! These songs are part of Boulet’s solo project, as he is also currently part of an Indie Rock band Parasades and Thrash Metal band Snakeface.
As we reach into a colder October it is hard not to miss the summer sun, but when listening to Jonathan Boulet’s music it’s almost as if it never left us. I highly recommend you check out his music and check out the Band of the Day app! It’s little treasures like this that make me happy. His self titled album is available on iTunes NOW!
August’s off to a great musical start, but we wanted to take a moment to share the top performing bands (based on number of song plays, music purchases, shares, and views) of July, in case you missed out on any.
And for the rest of the top 5 bands of July, we have:
#2 - Andrew St. James: A gifted 18 year-old folk artist whose lyrics are inspired by a colorful cast of characters
#3 (tied) - The Crookes: Four Sheffield lads with a knack for crafting sprightly, hook-laden Britrock; and Milky Chance: Elegant electronic production with acoustic guitars and lilting, lush vocals
#4 - Kognitif: Airy, abstract French trip hop that should soundtrack your next dinner party in space
#5 (tied) - Sabina: Sophisticated multilingual pop/rock solo project from the iconic Brazilian Girls’ front woman; and The Felice Brothers: Kitchen sink folk that makes even the coldest day feel like a perfect summer’s day lost in the backwoods
955 Dreams is on a roll. They’ve released five iOS apps so far, and all five have been featured by Apple as an “App of the Week”. Band of the Day is the latest one, earning the distinction this week.
And the app earns the title. I’ve been trying it out for the past couple of weeks and it’s a great way to discover new music. Unlike Pandora which relies on algorithms, or some of the other music services that rely heavily on social, Band of the Day brings a straightforward and old-school approach to music discovery: humans pick a band to highlight each day.
But they do so in a beautiful way, custom tailoring content within the app for that band. You get music, videos, bios, and even a robust review written by 955 Dreams’ editorial team. Naturally, if you decide you love the music, buying it via iTunes is only one click away.
Just as important as the content is how it’s presented. Fans of the 955 Dreams apps On the Way to Woodstock and History of Jazz will be well aware of the team’s attention to detail. Talking with co-founders Kiran Bellubbi and T.J. Zark, it almost sounds as if they work for Apple. Bellubbi talks about the importance of “emotive” products, and feels they’ve nailed it with Band of the Day.
Rather than taking existing content and trying to shove it into an app, they thought about what a music app should look like from the ground up, Zark notes. And unlike with Way to Woodstock and History of Jazz where 955 Dreams had the luxury of designing for the iPad’s big screen, they had to fit Band of the Day onto the iPhone screen (an iPad version is in the works too).
And the goal was to keep the app under 20 MB (so you can download it over 3G) and make it so a user would never see a loading screen. “We’ve broken our backs to make that happen,” Bellubbi says.
Band of the Day is also trying to disrupt the market with a new model. While the app itself is free and comes with a free week’s worth of music, you then must pay either $0.99 a month or $9.99 a year to continue accessing new music each day. If the app is a hit, 955 Dreams should find a lot of money coming their way.
And the team absolutely expects the app to be a huge hit. Bellubbi lays out his vision for Band of the Day on one out of every three iPhones out there in the world. They hope it becomes the way for new musical acts to get discovered. And the music labels are on board with this as well — already over 50 different labels have signed on to distribute music this way.
But don’t expect to see Band of the Day (or any of 955 Dreams’ other apps) on Android any time soon — the team only has interest in designing for iOS.
You can find Band of the Day here in the App Store.
A Fond Farewell: Band of the Day app ending on July 31st
Today, it’s with a heavy heart that we announce that July 31st will be the final day of Band of the Day app. It was an incredibly tough decision to make, because for nearly four years we’ve had the pleasure of exposing one new amazing artist a day, every single day, to some of the most passionate music aficionados out there. That’s over 1,400 curated bands from all over the world.
When we started developing Band of the Day app back in 2011, our goal was to make music discovery as delightful an experience as possible. This resulted in building an innovative and stunning mobile platform unlike anything out there – the world’s first music publication built for mobile from the ground up. Our vision and hard work paid off immediately, with Apple selecting Band of the Day as App of the Week when it launched in the App Store. We saw a huge spike in downloads, and the press and accolades started rolling in. Later that year, Band of the Day won the award for the iPhone App of the Year runner-up (to Instagram) for 2011.
During this time period, we decided to make Band of the Day a completely free app (it started off as a paid subscription-only app). At the time, we believed that growing our global user base and exposing bands to as large an audience as possible was more important than revenue. It was exciting to see all of the new user feedback come in, thanking us for helping them discover bands that they would have never found on their own. We also started hearing directly from bands on how big a spike in new fans they had when they were featured in the app. As a company of music lovers, it was incredibly rewarding to see that we had accomplished exactly what we set out to do.
Unfortunately, a company cannot sustain itself on accolades and buzz alone – just like a band cannot sustain itself on number of song plays. We had to figure out a way to generate revenue if we were to keep going. This led to the creation of our fan club ticketing and data analytics platform, Applauze, which was launched in March of 2013 as App of the Week during SXSW.
After successfully building a consumer-facing product with Band of the Day, we built Applauze as an artist-facing utility to help them connect directly with their most dedicated fans, and learn more about them through powerful data analytics.
Applauze: Monetization For Artists
Applauze is now the leading technology-driven fan club ticketing platform serving the artist and event community, with exceptional service and end user experience. As much as we all love Band of the Day, and have been able to keep it running for nearly four years, we’ve decided that now is the time to fully concentrate on Applauze by putting all of our company’s focus on it. This decision does not come lightly, especially given the community we’ve built around Band of the Day, but we’re 100% confident that it is the right one.
While Band of the Day app won’t be around after July 31st, we’re doing everything we can to ensure that our users aren’t left behind. Over the next month, we’ll be rolling out a series of blog posts on how we discover new music, and various playlists made up of bands that have been featured in the app throughout the years. We will also revamp bandofthedayapp.com to include an archive of all the bands we’ve ever featured in the app. After July 31st, we welcome you to still interact with us through @bandoftheday and facebook.com/bandoftheday.
Our love for discovering new music and sharing those discoveries is something that will never go away, and we hope to continue those conversations with you all even when the app isn’t around anymore. Until that time, I just wanted to give a huge thanks to all of the bands, labels, managers, and publicists who have worked with us over the years; to all of the users who evangelized the app and engaged with it every day; and to everyone who was involved in the creation of Band of the Day app. It’s been an amazing journey, and I’m honored to have been a part of it from the very beginning to the bittersweet end.