APP OF THE MONTH: Lively.fm, an app that brings art back to musical discovery
by Knar Bedian
October 16, 2013
With its minimal, flat UI music discovery app, Lively.fm will fit right into the look of the new iOS 7 update (it’s also available on Android). Unlike most music apps, Lively.fm stresses the visual component of a musical work—the oft-neglected album artwork—and employs a minimal aesthetic to keep our focus on the music. As with most apps these days, Lively.fm allows for connectivity to social networks, but if they prefer, users can opt out and instead create a profile using their email.
Lively.fm uses a Twitter-like follower system in which users construct a feed by following artists and fellow users. When artists’ new songs are uploaded, they appear on the users’ feed; with new songs being added every 10 minutes, it means a lot of fresh tunes. Spend some time on the Top Charts feed and you’ll cover quite a variety in terms of genres and level of popularity. We had the chance to speak to Lively.fm founder Behrad Ghadiri about the app, which had its origins as a grid of playable album artworks that reached the front page of reddit.
The app is very image-heavy—how did you decide to focus on an album-artwork centric display?
We wanted the browsing experience to feel like going through vinyl in a record store and to preserve that sense of wonder. Artworks are a great way to capture the overall atmosphere of an album and it allows us to hide everything else. It also lets people try new songs and genres before dismissing them by looking at the song name or artist.
Does Lively.fm provide any opportunities for up-and-coming artists? Where do you pull the songs from?
Our visual-centric approach is probably our biggest advantage for up-and-coming artists as it shifts the emphasis from artists to their music and levels the playing field. We are also working on new features to allow artists to import and manage their songs from other services such as Bandcamp and SoundCloud. We watch around 60 million blogs and our library is updated every 10 minutes. We do not rank these blogs to provide a more accurate representation of what people are listening to.
What makes you different from other music discovery apps?
We are always fresh and constantly changing. New songs are added every 10 minutes and you will never see the same songs on our front page. Sometimes people grow tired of their music library. Our goal is to introduce you to new, different and sometimes strange music from around the world.
UPDATE: After publication, Lively.fm was removed from the App Store. We knew it was too good to be true.
This article originally appeared in the October 2013 Issue of AUX Magazine.
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