Aweditorium for iPad - How iTunes LP should have been
The iPad provides a fantastic opportunity for some really unique media consumption experiences. We've seen magazine-type apps like Flipboard and Pulse before, but there aren't any really good examples of novel music consumption on the iPad – until now. Aweditorium is certainly a unique and engaging experience, but it's difficult to really describe what it actually is. It's brought to you by the folks that brought you thesixtyone, a musical journey in your Web browser, but Aweditorium is more than that. If you take music discovery, video, commentary, art, lyrics, and prose, and throw it all together in a touchable, browsable interface, you're just about there -- 'Aural Happiness.'
When your first fire up the app, Aweditorium presents you with a panel of spinning images. It's not abundantly clear what's going on -- you've been shown something that resembles a treasure map, but now the app tells you to plug in some headphones and the word 'Tap' is highlighted in the middle. You plug in your headphones and tap on a pane to start your musical adventure. The app zooms into the square that you tapped on, with each of them representing a song and an artist. You're presented with a tune that starts playing automatically and a backdrop photo related to the song. If it's not to your taste, you can swipe to change song, moving squares as you do. Pinching to zoom back out to the map allows you to see the course you're plotting across the undiscovered map of songs. You can either pick something next to the squares you've uncovered already, or scroll across the map and pick something entirely different.
Some panes have added media attached to them. Lyrics pop up so you can sing along with the artist, just make sure no one's around before you burst into song. Other panes have snippets of information on the artist or the song that pop up giving you some background on them, while others feature photography or art from the artists. Some of the songs have music videos or live performances attached to them, and the app will show you the YouTube video in surprisingly good 'HD' quality. There are also a few songs that have optional interviews, commentary or video snippets of the artists, which are displayed in a small window to the bottom left of the app while you're listening to the song. All of these elements allow you to interact with the song, and their combination creates an experience quite unique. While the individual elements themselves have been done before, this is the first time I've seen them combined into a fluid and intriguing interface that makes you want to delve deeper and deeper into the experience.
Once you've found something that matches up to your discerning tastes, you can share it with the world via Twitter or Facebook. It'll post a '#nowplaying' message with a link to the song on the Aweditorium website that allows your friends to listen to it (although it didn't work in Chrome 9 when we tried). Aweditorium also shows you how many other 'earthlings' have shown a liking for the track having shared it too. If you really like the song you can tap the heart icon, which allows you access more from the artist in Aweditorium, if they have anything else included, and if the artist has the song available for purchase in the iTunes Music Store, you can tap the iTunes button to be taken to the song's page via a link opened in Mobile Safari.
Aweditorium [iTunes] - Free