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Archive for February, 2009

More bands flocking to App Store: Pussycat Dolls, Soulja Boy

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

More artists are throwing their hats into the iPhone ring by releasing their own standalone applications that they hope will keep their fans engaged. Five groups under the Universal Music Group label have joined the party by offering fans ways to watch behind-the-scenes videos, buy music, chat with each other, and more. The approach is slightly different than the iPhone apps offered by some other bands, so we thought we would take a look to see how they vary.

The five UMG bands that joined the App Store recently are Lady Gaga, the Pussycat Dolls, Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em, the All American Rejects, and Keri Hilson (via MusicAlly). The apps for all five are more or less the same, but with different content and different visual looks that are specific to each artist or group. When it comes to content that immediately appeals to fans, it’s pretty clear up front that the video section is where it’s at, offering “exclusive” clips of various things like live shows, video blogs, promotional clips, and (in the case of the Pussycat Dolls, at least), walks on the beach.

The apps also dedicate an entire section to purchasing music from the musicians, which are really just very roundabout links to the Mobile iTunes Store (clicking “Get” will prompt you to open the link in Mobile Safari, which then opens Mobile iTunes Store and brings you to the artist’s page there). The Chat and Sharing functions are a little boring, however; does anyone really want to chat with other Pussycat Dolls fans? And on their iPhones?

This approach to the band-in-an-app is different than what some other bands are experimenting with. For example, the Presidents of the United States of America have released an iPhone app that streams the band’s entire discography straight to the device over WiFi or the cell network, including previously unavailable music. And in September, Snow Patrol released its own album in iPhone app form, complete with videos, lyrics, and album art. These apps place a higher importance on the bands’ actual music, with extra content being the secondary focus, though the PUSA app costs money, while the UMG apps are all free.

Though we must admit that we prefer it the PUSA and Snow Patrol way, that’s not to say there isn’t value in the apps released by UMG. Fans love behind-the-scenes videos, no matter how contrived they are, and it’s clear in the iTunes reviews of the apps that the videos are exactly the kind of content people are looking for. Of course, there’s no rulebook for how bands have to use iPhone apps to promote themselves, so we’re glad to see different labels experimenting to find the sweet spot.

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Yumi’s Favorite iPod Applications

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

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Asustek to Make Google Android Netbook, Says Report

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

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Most Extreme Gamma-Ray Blast Yet Detected

Saturday, February 21st, 2009
Matt_dk sends in a quote from a story at NASA:
“The first gamma-ray burst to be seen in high-resolution from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is one for the record books. The blast had the greatest total energy, the fastest motions and the highest-energy initial emissions ever seen. … Gamma-ray bursts are the universe’s most luminous explosions. Astronomers believe most occur when exotic massive stars run out of nuclear fuel. As a star’s core collapses into a black hole, jets of material — powered by processes not yet fully understood — blast outward at nearly the speed of light. The jets bore all the way through the collapsing star and continue into space, where they interact with gas previously shed by the star and generate bright afterglows that fade with time. …Fermi team members calculated that the blast exceeded the power of approximately 9,000 ordinary supernovae, if the energy was emitted equally in all directions.”

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