The Daily App: Jazz Fan? Blue Note Has You Covered
There's a saying in the music business: there are music fans, and then there are jazz fans, known for a whole other level of obsessiveness and detail.
Whether or not that is accurate, it's true that jazz has a rich history, an impressive lineage of instrumental and vocal geniuses and a fanbase noted for the depth and care it lavishes on appreciating the music. It can be intimidating to wade into the deep, cool waters of the genre, but whether you're a stark beginner or a discerning aficionado, renowned record label Blue Note's new app provides a stellar introduction to one of the great American music forms.
What's the App?
Blue Note Records, now owned by EMI, was founded in 1939, and rose to prominence as it chronicled the evolving field of bebop, a particular rich strand of modernist jazz that welds the rhythms of R&B, soul and other primarily African-American forms of music with earlier jazz forms.
The label's roster expanded as jazz grew in America, and boasts greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane along with contemporary talent like vocalist Cassandra Wilson. Beyond music, Blue Note is also famous for its album cover design, notable for a stark, striking approach that uses elegantly tinted black-and-white photography, sleek typefaces and restricted color palettes.
The label's great history and stylish design figure heavily in its music discovery app, created by developer Groovebug and openEMI, a music industry initiative that gives app makers access to EMI's music rights, tools for discovery and recommendation and help in streamlining the licensing process. The cooperation between the developers and the music industry has created a truly rich and exciting music resource for the iPad, for all levels of jazz appreciators.
The app feels very much like an iPad-based record store, featuring streaming audio of Blue Note artists, rich photos and images -- but it leverages the media richness of the tablet format by linking to a rich archive of historical material, ranging from in-depth bios, performance videos and newspaper articles. You can also save and share favorites, as well as build playlists.
The app performs beautifully and is frankly a jazz geek's dream -- truly a joy to browse and discover jazz if you're new to the form, or delve deeper if you're more seasoned -- and a perfect way to explore one of the great treasure troves of American jazz in a modern format.
Blue Note's app offering is available for iPad in both free and paid premium versions. The free version features primarily 30-second song clips and limited access to archival materials. The paid version, at $2 a month for in-app subscription, features full song streaming of thousands of tracks, with more added everyday as rights become available. The app is also available for Spotify users.
You'll Want It If...
Whatever your interest in jazz, Blue Note's app is beautifully packaged and operates smoothly, making it a real pleasure to use. It's a great introduction to jazz newbies who just want to see what the fuss is all about, but serious fans will also appreciate the care lavished upon the supplemental information, not to mention the full streaming of one of the greatest music catalogs in the world.
It's Not My Thing -- What Else Ya Got?
If you're a music fan who longs for the depth and care in the Blue Note app, but just can't get into jazz -- don't worry, your time is coming soon. OpenEMI is working to make EMI's music assets more easily available to app developers, helping to clear the rights with artists and management while letting app makers focus on creating superior work.
According to Billboard, developers are working on apps for EMI artists such as Gorillaz, Tinie Tempah, Robbie Williams, Pet Shop Boys, Professor Green, Air and Evanescence, among others. The initiative is currently fielding over 50 proposals from a field of 480 developers, Billboard reports, so some of the biggest artists in the world may be getting the lavish app treatment soon. ♦
Categories: Entertainment | Music | The Daily App