This week, we’ll eye-love five apps.
Each of the apps has repeatedly passed my Zen focus on renunciation (of crap I don’t need). It’s a focus that’s helped me ween myself off a many-thousand-fold vinyl collection (only one case of records accompanied me from Sydney to New York in 2011). It’s a focus that sees me sneak-attack unnecessary things at home then sneak them into the trash (if something goes missing my wife and children assume I sneak-attacked it). It’s a focus that sees me primarily use recycled, loose-leaf paper for note-taking rather than notebooks.
My Zen app focus is strong is what I’m saying.
I love reducing but am yet to reduce any of these apps. And that’s important if you’re going to commit to write about them....
First up is:
HYPE MACHINE - Listen to this custom-made soundtrack
The entertaining story before the screenshots bit
I was a first-day Spotify adopter. When that thing launched in the States I jumped on it like a Zen buddhist monk sitting down to nude-meditate. And we had good times together. I enjoyed giving Spotify money and Spotify enjoyed giving me music.
But as a reformed music magazine maker and jovial radio show host who treated hanging out in record stores as an ten-year unpaid internship, I just didn’t get my “discover new music” fix from Spotify the way I wanted. The discovery engine was too repetitive, the apps were still evolving.
At times, I’d turn to We Are Hunted for my fix. It was my jam, my peanut butter, and my Vegemite. They created a chart of the most popular music on the Interwebz by counting the data from things like bittorrent websites. It was totally futuristic (and Australian). Like, if “Total Recall” had a music chart, I’m pretty sure We Are Hunted would have powered it. Then they got bought. The future ate them.
My number one and two crushes started to perplex my fix. And to top it off, I’m a dad. I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m not hanging out in record stores or with advanced music technology for hours a day to get my fix any more. I need it quick. I need it easy. I need it reliable. I need it pretty. And I need it in my pocket.
Insert relevant segway here. I mean, segue.
Fortunately, mid hi-fi crisis, I rediscovered Hype Machine. And by “rediscovered”, I mean I remembered I had set up an account years before but allowed Last.fm to distract me then thought I should digitize my entire music collection, started to, then sold my music collection because I was so Zen and moved countries. I don’t even know when I set up my account but it was probably before Hype Machine even existed. And, then guess what happened?
Yes, I discovered they had an app. And it would cost $4, a luxury goods-type price especially for someone who’d learned to wait until anything that resembled a holiday to grab discounted apps.
$4? You could buy so much other stuff for that - like half a month of Spotify or Netflix.
Still, it looked nice so I bought it.
THE BRAIN ANALYSIS OF THE EYE STIMULUS
HomescreenIf you look at the homescreen, you’ll see she is beautiful yet useful. So green, blue, and pink yet not color-shouty. She prefers popularity to recency (don’t we all?) so she invites you into the popular tracks with haste. I don’t do this because it’s too obvious. But if I did it would be an amazing experience.
Instead, I get some slide-out navigation action happening. Again, the design shows very deliberate and minimal use of color, text with room to breathe, and simple icons that don’t get in the way of the words.
Popular screenIf you look at the popular screen, you’ll see that popular has nuance. I go for “Only Remixes” because I’ve always been a bit of a B-Side kind of guy.
Listening screenYou can listen to tracks with faces. It’s a nice psychological trick. Simple controls are available, too. With a light touch you can see the duration of the track and choose to share it (which earns the track points) and other things.
Favorites screenOn my Internet-enabled pocket phone, I spend most time in my favorites—using the desktop to find new favorites. Hype Machine caches some of your recently played tracks which is great for the subway when Wifi is out of reach.
Genres screenYou can also jump into genres but, as I said before, I don’t have much space in my life for music decisions these days so I avoid these sorts of experiences and save the energy for naked Zen meditation.