As a die-hard music fan, I love The Hype Machine. For those that don’t know it, The Hype Machine indexes the most influential music bloggers to identify which artists and songs are currently being discussed the most, and it’s an amazing way to discover new music by tapping into the zeitgeist of some of the most thoughtful and passionate listeners out there.
As regular readers know, I’m also fascinated by what’s happening with the mobile web: the rapid simultaneous revolution in device design, operating systems and mobile applications epitomized (but by no means limited to) Apple’s iPhone and App Store. And if you squint a little it’s not hard to find parallels between the popular music business and what’s starting to happen with the App Store:
- Everyone wants to be a rock star (developer) – In one stroke Apple has broken the long-standing carrier monopoly on mobile software, and any competent developer can now create and (with Apple’s blessing) distribute their app on the App Store. A lucky few have become the “rock stars” of mobile applications, making serious money and seeing their name in lights. Thousands more are hard at work, hoping to break into the big time. Most of these won’t make it, but the dream is powerful.
- Consumers rely on tastemakers to know what to buy – There are too many apps from too many developers for consumers to easily find apps they’re likely to enjoy. Apple is the uber-DJ, powering sales for an anointed few via their advertising, PR and hot lists within the App Store. But Apple’s less-is-more approach to branding and UE means that most apps have to look for spins elsewhere on the radio dial.
- It takes more than great product to succeed – Because so many developers want to be rock stars and the App Store is currently the only place they can do it, the eye of the needle has gotten very small, very fast. Even the best rock bands need distribution and promotion to hit the big time, and that’s now true for mobile apps as well.
Once I started seeing mobile apps through a music lens, the opportunity to create a ‘Hype Machine for iPhone apps’ was impossible to ignore. And since creating new companies is what we do here at Founders Co-op, we enlisted one of our developer friends as a co-founder and put together a working draft of that idea at AppStoreHQ. We’ve barely scratched the surface of our vision with the current product, but we’re very excited about how much we’ve accomplished in a very short time and felt like it was time to start spreading the word.
So if you’re an iPhone owner with an appetite for apps, take us for a spin and let us know if we helped you find something new. And if you’re an iPhone developer with at least one app in the App Store, take a minute to fill out your profile (it’s free) and let your app buyers discover a little more about the artist behind the music.
UPDATE: AppStoreHQ received a nice writeup this morning from John Cook at TechFlash – thanks for the shout-out, John.