Digital music lacks one important element from the analog days: romance. Contemplating album art and reading lyrics on jacket sleeves was a wonderfully tactile experience that only enhanced the listening. Aweditorium — a free, iPad-specific app from global indie music community thesixtyone — offers that with an online twist. You pick an artist at random from a giant photo grid, and while you listen to a their track, you’ll also get just-in-time lyrics, pop-up bio facts, links to videos, social media hooks, and the best iPad-sized image the band has to offer.
Since it’s all DIY — the information is provided by the artists themselves — sometimes you’ll find bad pictures and eye-rollingly hipster bios, but digging for treasures that fit your taste is most of the fun. Also, there are gatekeepers in this community, so while it’s nice to know artists are being screened (which helps keep the signal-to-noise ratio intact), enrollment is currently closed. It will be interesting to see how often content is refreshed, and when new artists will be allowed within Aweditorium’s exclusive walls. More musical variety would be welcome too, as earnest alt-rock is almost over-represented.
Saving your favorite finds would be a nice option; right now you can either tweet about them or buy the tracks immediately, but you can’t, say, send yourself an email with links to check out later. But for the indie fan always eager to tell their friends “You haven’t heard of (insert band here)?” with a superior tone of voice, Aweditorium is a satisfying, multimedia way to explore the musical underground.
The bottom line. We’re certainly awed.