Analysis

Music app Discovr gets a major relaunch after 3m iOS downloads


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Australian startup Filter Squad has been pretty successful with its Discovr apps since the first one launched in October 2011 as a flowchart-style way to discover music artists.

The company launched similar products for films, Twitter users and apps, and notched up more than 3m downloads on iOS. Today, it’s relaunching its flagship music app as an iPhone and iOS 7-only affair.

It’s a big change, too. The old navigation has been pushed into the background, replaced by a system that involves following your favourite artists, then seeing a feed of their new music, photos, videos, news updates and gig listings.

(Background? The Music Map feature can be accessed from artist profiles with a ‘Similar’ button.)

You can also connect up streaming music services: Spotify, Rdio, Deezer and Last.fm at launch, as well as SoundCloud and YouTube. Social features include the ability to share specific music with followers, who can then play it using whatever streaming service they’ve connected to Discovr.

The app will provide alerts about new releases on iTunes, Spotify and Rdio, and recommends artists that it thinks you’ll like, based on those that you’re following – it’s tapping The Echo Nest’s technology for this.

“You should check out Junkie XL because you like Space Raiders, Bentley Rhythm Ace and Death In Vegas” being one example from my feed, which tells you something about my mis-spent Big Beat youth.

Competitors? Soundwave is the obvious one in terms of connecting different streaming services to a single app, then sharing music between friends no matter what service they’re using – with the twist that it sucks in your plays from those services without requiring its app to be running at the time. Seenth.is is focusing on aggregating feeds from specific artists angle, meanwhile.

Then there’s Twitter #Music and the discovery efforts of the streaming services themselves – Spotify in particular – which are moving towards a similar mix of following favourite artists, algorithm-based recommendations and social sharing.

It’s a big change from the original Discovr, and the new app is intuitive to find your way round, with a neat iOS 7-friendly design. Will it catch on? That’s what we’ll find out over the next few weeks. Discovr is a free download for iPhone from Apple’s App Store.

Stuart Dredge

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