May 16, 2012 at 12:20 pm

iAlbums Music Player Tries to Save Music Blogging

ialbums music blogging aggregation curation iphone appWe spend a lot of time thinking about the future of music as an app phenomenon – mostly for listeners, but also for musicians: instruments for the synth wiz, ways for musicians to market and monetize tunes, and recently, how this whole transition into apps has affected music bloggers.

Our lengthy conversation with Sean Adams – founder of influential music blog Drowned In Sound – elicited a host of responses here and around the web, including one from Adams himself.

Yair Yona, marketing manager for iAlbums, is the latest to throw his hat into this ring, authoring a response to our Sean Adams interview entitled “Music Blogging in the Age of Too Many Ice Cream Flavors.” There, he posits that the iAlbums app (of course!) solves the plight of today’s music blogger.

After a lengthy ice cream analogy and some Englebert Humperdinck references thrown in for good measure, he asserts that in order for music blogs to remain relevant, “a shift [needs] to take place in both the means of consumption and distribution” of the blogs: namely, “they must be tied to the listening experience, in order to be meaningful and meet the ever-growing demand for one-click satisfaction.” [Our editor has argued the same.]

Yona goes on to contend that listeners who’ve been stymied by excessive musical recommendations would more likely engage with a music blog if they were provided with a stream of content that relates to the artists they’re already listening to anyway — and if that content came in a package that was easy to browse while listening to that music.

ialbums content feed john lennonPerhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that this is exactly the kind of platform iAlbums hopes to offer with its revamped app, released Monday. The iAlbums music player (free for iOS) aggregates a stream of written and multimedia content from around the web to be perused while listening to the music in your library. In the past, much of that media came from Wikipedia and Rovi’s AllMusicGuide, but the iAlbums team hopes to incorporate posts from various music blogs in the new version. Bloggers who’d like to submit their work for inclusion can do so here.

That sort of variety would be a welcome addition to this app. Last time we checked it out, we applauded its concept and design, but lamented the limited and somewhat monotonous nature of the content it aggregated. Incorporating a few pithily-written music blogs would go a long way towards fixing that.

One possible drawback we see in using iAlbums as a platform to connect music bloggers with potential fans is that it sidesteps music recommendation, because it’s a music player that incorporates writing about the music you not only already know about, but have in your collection.

This makes a lot of sense if the app intends to provide “virtual liner notes,” but that leaves the door open for another developer to do the same thing, but with recommendations too. This would also help listeners read more of the blog stuff, because they could read about similar artists to the ones in their collections. It would help music bloggers in another way, too, because they’d be able to connect to listeners through iAlbums in the same way they do already: by exposing them to new music.

Download iAlbums for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.