Gone are the days of going to the store to leisurely sift though the latest music albums, flipping through the booklet on a CD sleeve and reading the lyrics. Today, more than ever, virtually any kind of music is just a click away.
But despite the abundance of musical content available online, some music lovers argue that a part of the experience has been lost with the move from physical media to downloadable data. Israeli company iAlbums is trying to bring the more personal approach to music into the digital world with an application that pulls content from all over the internet on any given song or artist.
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Bringing back the musical experience
“Music might be easier to attain nowadays, but it has been reduced to ‘background music,’” iAlbums founder and CEO Gilad Woltsovich tells NoCamels, “iAlbums’ main idea is to bring back that musical experience.”
About two years ago, Woltsovich met with childhood friend Kfir Moyal, whom he hadn’t seen in years. The two talked about their mutual love of music and how much the industry had changed. “As a musician myself, I grew up knowing that if you’re the best, you’ll get signed by a major label and then you’re set,” says Woltsovich. “But today, no matter how many fans you have, they don’t buy your music – they ‘like’ you on Facebook and feel like they’ve done their part.”
The two friends wanted to find a way to revive the experience that they remember: “[Moyal and I] were talking all night, looking to bring back some of the older, even nostalgic, experience that music gave us”. In march 2011, the two founded iAlbums.
New layers of information
The app, released last March, is currently available for free on the Apple App Store. It automatically synchs with your music library, adding layers of information in an alphabetical, “bookshelf” sort of view. iAlbums offers more information than what Woltsovich calls “a grey line on a playlist”: “The app pulls the content of your music library and instantly offers layers of information from the artist’s Facebook page, Twitter account, past interviews and even things such as works of art inspired by the artist,” says Woltsovich.
The app also pulls information from Wikipedia, Wikiquote and Google news. According to the company, their database contains information on 11 million tracks performed by 670,000 artists. “We want to enrich the musical experience without affecting the passive nature in which we enjoy music,” says Woltsovich.
After accumulating more than 40,000 active users, iAlbums’ next step is a web-based free service, which will offer an immersive on-demand smart-radio. “[The website] studies your particular tastes and suggests new artists you might like, while still maintaining the original features of the [mobile] app,” says Woltsovich, “say you’re listening to Bob Dylan, further information such as artists that influenced him will appear on your screen, with a very comfortable flow.”
The company is currently funded by Cyhawk Ventures and angel investor Gigi Levy, and is getting ready for its second financing round. Although there is currently no revenue being generated by the app, Woltsovich tells NoCamels that there are several business models ready to be implemented, including a platform for new artists to promote themselves and cash in on their work.
Photo by iAlbums