This was an idea that came to me completely out of the blue. It happened as I was browsing the NME and came across one of their weekly blog posts, '10 tracks you have to hear this week', which I have read before and found quite useful for discovering new music. The only problem I've found with these posts is that without writing down the names of the tracks I like or going straight onto Spotify and adding them to one of my playlists it's easy to forget about them. I'm also yet to find a proper archive of these posts, which would come in quite handy.
With that in mind I started to think about how this sort of thing might be done better, which is when I came up with a simple concept for a music discovery / recommendation app for the iPhone.
I designed this app based on the idea that it would work in almost exactly the same way as the NME's '10 tracks you have to hear this week' - meaning it would be run by a magazine or a blog. That way the weekly recommendations would come from real people with their ear to the ground rather than an app simply suggesting a similar artist or track to the one's you're already listening to, which I've found to be the case with a couple of the other discovery apps I've used.
In this case a list of 10 tracks would be hand picked and added to the app each week. 'This Week's Tracks' is the first page users will see after opening the app.
Here users will be able to listen to any or all of the 10 tracks available. To play a track the user simply has to tap it and the audio player will appear from the bottom of the screen.
As you can see, at first the player only displays the next, previous and play/pause toggle buttons but if the user was to tap elsewhere on the player it would slide up to reveal the timer bar, which can be hidden again with another tap.
If the user likes a certain track they have the option to 'favourite' it by tapping the star icon. This will automatically store the track under 'favourites', meaning the user can easily look it up and listen back to it at a later date. Users can access 'favourites' by tapping the star button in the top right hand corner. This will open a library of the users favourite tracks which will be sorted from newest favourite to oldest. Users can remove a 'favourite' by simply tapping the star icon again.
Saving tracks for a later date isn't the only part that 'favourites' have to play. 'This Week's Tracks' are listed in order of popularity, meaning those that have been 'favourited' most by users of the app will appear higher up the 'chart' - hence the reason for numbering tracks 1 - 10 on the left hand side.
The 'favourites' system would not only let users know which tracks are the most popular but it would also give the magazine or blog an opportunity to make more of the app by featuring whichever track makes it to number 1 as 'Track of The Week', or something to that effect.
'Favourites' will be counted over a 7 day period and after that 'This Week's Tracks' will be added to the archive and replaced by 10 new ones. Once that happens the 'favourite' counters will be removed and although users will still be able to add those tracks to 'favourites' it will not affect their final chart position. Users can access the archive by tapping the calendar icon which will bring up a list of dates. After selecting a date, the 'chart' from that week will appear, allowing the user to listen to all 10 tracks from that week.
The idea is that the app would be simple, straight to the point and it will do the job the user asks of it. The only other feature I would consider including is giving users the ability to share tracks via their social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
What do you think? Is there anything you would do differently? Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments section or drop me a line via Twitter.