April 28, 2012 at 4:36 am

InstaSound Will Let Vinyl and CD Shoppers Preview Songs, Share Finds with Friends


SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — We already know the vinyl revival is not going away. Now, there’s a handy new app looking to help record shoppers (not to mention CD holdouts) listen to albums before buying them, as well as sharing their prospective purchases with friends a la Instagram.

Enter: InstaSound.

This iOS app (with a companion website), currently under development at Music Hack Day Sydney, will let you take a picture of a record or CD in order to preview the tracks on it, buy them in iTunes if you want, and share the album photos with friends on a website. So, yes — to borrow yet another current buzzword, not only would it be sort of like Instagram, but it’s also like Pinterest for the vinyl set.

“The idea of the app InstaSound is to provide a tactile music discovery application where people who are looking at album art or records can take a photo of that record and start previewing it right away, rather than having to wait until they get it home or start downloading tracks illegally,” explained Mitch Malone User Interface Developer at Hunted Media.

“You just take a photo of the cover and away you go, you don’t have to open the package or anything,” added Ben Novakovic, Hunted Media web developer and iOS monkey.

The iPhone app scans the album cover and identifies it using 7Digital’s API, while the accompanying website displays all of your most-recently-uploaded album art and allows other people to check out your photos, listen to the samples, and if they want, buy the music from iTunes.

A future feature could hook the app into social networks, allowing sharing of these vinyl sightings beyond the InstaSound website.

“The idea long term, if we decide to make it into a product, would be that you can see what your Facebook/Twitter friends have been tagging, check out other profiles and view more music that way,” added Malone.

Compared to some of the apps to emerge from Music Hack Days, this one already looks pretty slick, after just a few hours of work at Music Hack Day Sydney. Judging from the mock-ups, it looks close to ready for a commercial release in iTunes. So we put it to the pair of developers: Is that the plan?

“Oh, it’s a definite possibility,” said Novakovic. “As far as we can gather, a lot of people have already expressed interest and would use something like this — I think there’s a definite potential market for it.”

Because their concept involves an iOS app, the pair had to code the app so that it links only to iTunes for purchases. But even if vinyl types ignore iTunes and buy the physical media after shooting a photo of an album, their friends might choose to buy the tracks via iTunes. And whenever anyone bought tracks through the app, it would generate revenue via iTunes referrals.

Not a bad day’s work.

Read Evolver.fm’s full coverage of Music Hack Day Sydney.