Planet of the apps

Published: Oct 03, 2010, 07:41 IST | Lalitha Suhasini |

Indian artistes and bands get iPhone-friendly, with snazzy apps to hook up with fans and gear up for the future

Indian artistes and bands get iPhone-friendly, with snazzy apps to hook up with fans and gear up for the future

Bengaluru has beaten it to the top of the tech game, again. Folk rock band from the southern city, Swarathma, launched its iPhone app in August, allowing users to access their music, videos, even let them turn their phone around into a shaker that could be played along to their track Pyaasi.
 

 Swarathma from Bengaluru becomes the first Indian band to
    get itself and iPhone app. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy follow suit


Plus a Google map if you need directions to their gig being held anywhere in the world. iPhone apps took a while to get to India, two years since American punk rock band Fall Out Boy (now defunct) and singer Pink were the first to launch their own apps.

"It's an investment for the future and especially great when we tour abroad to let people know we're gigging and where they can catch us," says Swarathma's bassist Jishnu Dasgupta.

Bollywood caught onto the innovation last month. Composers Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy (SEL) also launched an iPhone app and are already planning to explore other platforms including Nokia and Android phones. "We're thinking ahead," says Ehsaan Noorani, "We are sure that iPhone sales will pick up in India.
 
A lot of iPads are already in fashion." The composers want to cash in on the number of iPhone users in America when they set out on the US tour later this year. The SEL app includes behind-the-scene s videos from concerts, besides music. For 99 cents, it's Bollywood gold for an international audience.

Later this year or early next year, US-based percussionist and composer Karsh Kale has plans to create an iPhone app to launch his next album, Cinema. "My app will be interactive. I want to enable users to create versions of tracks from my album. I'll also be collaborating with a Delhi-based artist so that users can play around with both, visuals and music on the app," says Kale.

When asked whether the band app had an international reference point, Shreyas Srinivasan who heads OML Digital, that built the app, says, "We had a look at a few. I think my favourite band, DMB (Dave Matthews Band) has a great app and so does NIN (Nine Inch Nails). With Swarathma, we tried to build on their fun persona; the app is fun and has a special play along mode where fans can learn an instrument."

While Nokia has no plans to launch a music app, the BlackBerry smartphone has already been endorsed by international superstars U2 and hip hop producer will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas. The Irish rockstars launched the U2 mobile album app to kick off the 360 degree tour last year and promote their last album, No Line on The Horizon, that also released last year.

The app provided access to lyrics, song and video clips, stories, and artwork from the album. will.i.am launched Dipdive, a social networking app that allows him to share music and photos besides other features with fans.

Back home, the BlackBerry is waiting to be exploited, says Research In Motion (the company behind BlackBerry) spokesperson Satchit Gayakwad. "The capability exists, but we haven't explored it yet."
 
The Swarathma iPhone app has been downloaded 300 times, with a majority of downloads from the US and some from Russia and Japan. Is self-confessed gadget fan AR Rahman listening?

Who else has a band app?
Akon
The Black Lips
Death Cab For Cutie
Dave Matthews Band
Keri Hilson
Lady Gaga
The Jonas Brothers
Santana
The Pussycat Dolls
Wilco

Besides band photos, videos and music, some of these apps also allow artistes to send raw video footage to fans.

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