When you launch Aweditorium – the superb new music discovery app for the iPad – the initial splash screen for it uses a tagline of ‘Aural Happiness’ underneath the app’s name. They could easily drop ‘aural’, just use ‘Happiness’, and be well within the bounds of accurate descriptions of what the app delivers.
If you want the short version of my review on the app, it is: awesome – a must for all iPad owners who like to discover new music. For lots of lovely screencaps and reasons why this app is so superb, hit the jump …
Here’s a slice of the App Store description of Aweditorium:
Aweditorium reimagines what a music experience feels like on iPad. It takes all of the disparate content surrounding an artist — beautiful photography, lyrics, high definition video, interviews — and ties it all together into an fun, intimate experience on a multi-touch display.
This is a music discovery – and just pure music enjoyment – app. When you launch it, it shows you a full-screen darkened board full of squares that each represent an artist / band, with a dots map at the top left corner that shows the percentage of content you’ve explored so far and the number of listens you’ve had. The squares are lit up as you tap on them and when you have listened to the song on them. There are no labels to tell you which artist / song is on any given square – you only see that after you tap one.
Once you tap to select a square you go to a full-screen view of the artist or band you selected and immediately start hearing the selected song – and you’ll see a small prompt to tap, pinch, or swipe on the screen. If you pinch inwards you’ll jump back out to the main board screen. If you tap once you’ll see the song title and artist’s name at the bottom left of the screen as well as some control buttons along the bottom right of the screen.
You’ll also start seeing various popup colored caption blocks with background and history about the artist.
Another tap on the screen will show you just the full-screen artist image and the lyrics of the song in large text line by line.
You can simply swipe left, right, up, or down to move through to new songs and artists. Swiping right to get back to the previous song is especially handy if a song you like just ended before you could hear more of an artist or note their name.
From the controls bar at the bottom right you can:
— Pause and Play.
— Choose to share a song via Twitter or Facebook.
— Tap to see a ‘More by this artist’ popup – from which you can tap to go to another of their songs.
— See a YouTube clip of the artist in a small, thumbnail-style block at the bottom left of the screen. Some of these are interviews with the artist, some are music videos. From the small video block you can tap to toggle full-screen view of the video and there’s also an AirPlay button if you’re running it on iOS 4.2 – to stream the video to an Apple TV, though this will only do audio for now.
— Tap the HD button to go to a full-screen video of the current song.
— Or tap to get back to the main discovery screen.
— Excellent Photography – the app is just full of superb photos of the artists and bands, and they’re all presented in full-screen.
— Popovers for Artist Information – I love the way the artist / band history and information is presented. The popovers provide bite-sized chunks of info that are fun to take in for artists you’re interested in and easy to ignore for those you’re not finding appealing. Some of them are just classic as well …
— Best New Music Discovery Tool. Ever. – If there’s a better service or app for discovering great new music I haven’t seen it. All the others I’ve seen feel limited or want to build off your existing favorites, which immediately narrows the field. Aweditorium just hits you with lots and lots of new artists and new songs. I’ve honestly found – and bought! – more new music via tis app in just a couple of weeks than I have in years through all other methods combined. And I’m enjoying the heck out of the music I’ve bought, and still diving in for more good stuff from Aweditorium just about every day.
Some of my favorites so far are: Allison Weiss, Lissie, Pretty Lights, Basia Bulat, and Fitz & The Tantrums.
— iOS 4.2 Support – this app already has it, so it plays just fine in the background. It also does AirPlay streaming to Apple TV, though for audio and album art only for now – I imagine video support may need another app update.
Very, very few.
The app loads just a little slowly, while it prepares the board full of artists and songs. Hopefully load time can be gradually reduced in future updates. It occasionally gets hung up on a single artist and doesn’t let me swap back to the main screen – this is resolved by closing the app (via the Multitasking bar) and re-opening it. This is a rare occurrence though, and may be mostly when I have far too many apps running / in the background.
My one wish list item is that the developers add a ‘If you liked this, then you might also enjoy’ sort of feature.
The ‘Awe’ portion of the app’s name is well chosen. Aweditorium really is an awesome app all the way around. It’s great to look at, gets you ‘involved’ with great new music, and is just the best music discovery tool I’ve ever seen.
We’re in late November now and this is my iPad App of the Year. I not only use the app every day, but I find that even when I’m not using it I’m enjoying some of the music it helped me discover just about every day as well. It’s a brilliant idea, brilliantly executed.
Apple should give it a nod as App of the Year as well – if my iTunes spending due to this app is anything to go by they are making an enormous killing due to Aweditorium’s awesomeness.
You can find Aweditorium in the App Store now, and it is a free app.