Time was, I was a slave to the Billboard and Rolling Stone best sellers list. Not that I bought a lot of disco or Barry Manilow back in the day, but I was pretty up-to-date on the CBGB-related and singer-songwriter fare and was actually guiltily fond of both Madonna and Michael Jackson during their 80's heydays (although I could have done without both his sappy duets with Paul McCartney).
As time wore on, my Tower or Virgin Records sprees became less and less frequent, and my music collection less and less resembled the best selling hip music until I didn't even recognize anyone on these lists. What's an "LMFAO" (other than a text acronym for "laughing my f#@^%$ ass off")?
It's not that I grew less interested in discovering new music, but as one's life becomes more familially insulated and less club-oriented, you are less and less frequently exposed to a wide variety of other peoples' music tastes.
These days, my new music discovery is random and accidental – something I hear on a movie soundtrack, something I overhear a teenager playing too loud, an occasional new tune on the radio or Pandora, a free or Genius-suggested track on iTunes.
But I just discovered a more organized way of finding something new to groove to – Band of the Day (BoD) for iPhone (a full iPad version is coming soon, an Android version in a few months).
Band of the Day is much more than a mere suggestion of a new band each day. It's a one-stop immersive experience with a new musical act.
"We felt it was time to give users deep experiences with the artists themselves," explains Kiran Bellubbi, founder and CEO of 955 Dreams, the developer of App of the Day. "We allow people to truly connect with the music and to build meaningful relationships with the bands. Music should be more than a parsed list of song names."
A tour of BoD
Indeed. When you open the app, you are presented a calendar grid with today blocked out in red (get it? a red-letter day!) overlaid over a photo of that day's band and a brief description of its music type. For October 31, for instance, the BoD is Teeth, described as "high energy bursts of fluorescent electro dance punk." Alrighty then. Nov. 1's BoD was Slow Club, "innocent and endearing English folk pop," modern jangly guitar rock reminiscent of Richard and Linda Thompson.
Tap an otherwise blank calendar square to get that day's Band of the Day. Swipe right to go back a month. The navigation is a bit showy, but you soon get used to how BoD all fits together – someone or someones obviously put a lot of time and effort into designing BoD. No slapdash job this.
Tap the red triangle next to the band's name and you get a 955 staff review (which all tend to be positive, which makes sense since the band wouldn't have been picked as a Band of the Day if the 955 folks didn't like 'em), a band bio, something called "Buzz" (user generated comments, although I don't see a way to create your own "buzz" post), music videos (from YouTube), and a list of albums.
You can play three-to-five full tracks from the band, rather than 30- or 60-second clips you are limited to in other MP3 stores, along with short previews of other tracks. You can rate tracks, share the song via Twitter, Facebook and email, or buy the track or album via iTunes.
BoD also creates an 11-track mix "tape" of past bands of the day. There's also a place to rate bands, and a Charts section that is currently empty – the app is less than two months old, so there likely aren't enough users to compile a best-seller (or listener) list yet.
All manner of genres are represented. If one day's band doesn't suit you, perhaps the previous or next will. There's lots of interesting stuff here, cool to explore while commuting via mass transit. But these are not old or familiar bands – every act seems to be someone you've never heard of who may one day be famous.
Band of the Day is initially free – you get a week's preview. Thereafter, BoD is 99 cents a week or $9.99 for a whole year of new music discovery.