Interview With The Developers of Band Discovery App – Timbre

timbreTimbre was featured on the Apple front page that gave the App a lot of coverage and downloads. Timbre App helps you to find the latest music shows and events nearby your location. Everything is presented in a gorgeous user interface that clearly redefines band discovery. It’s basically a brand discovery App to let you find the best music being played by leading bands around you. We take a behind the scenes look with this interview and understand how the team managed to pull off such an incredible App.

1. How did you conceive the idea for the App?

It all started with Matt Bridges, CTO of Timbre. He participated in the Boston Innovation Challenge Hackathon in May 2012. The theme of the event was “connecting disconnected communities” which brought together aspiring individuals from different industries to discuss their vision of “connected communities”. One local Boston musician described his difficulties in reaching his local audience, despite being able to let his music be heard by people around the world through technology. This issue inspired Matt to create a simple tool to help connect bands with local music lovers.

2. Do you think Apple’s offerings for developers for developing Apps is good? Are there any changes required?

We have been fortunate in our success. With no prior connections with Apple, Timbre was featured as the number one New and Noteworthy app during the iPhone 5 launch, which was both incredibly humbling and tremendously valuable for the company. As we released the latest update with international support and a Grammy’s playlist, Timbre was featured in the “New and Noteworthy” category in multiple countries including Canada, Australia, New Zealand; as well as being the “banner featured app” in the US, UK and Mexico. It’s safe to say that our success so far has been a combination of a killer product and a little bit of luck.

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3. What is your marketing strategy? What marketing techniques do you use to promote your App in this heavily competitive application space?

We love being in the Boston/Cambridge community. We can’t say enough about how awesome it is to be a startup in this vibrant space. Initially, Timbre was as an internal project developed out of its parent company Intrepid Pursuits. The first working prototype of Timbre received phenomenal feedback from beta testers in the community. After four months of development effort and many iterations of working prototypes, the team created the user experience that Timbre offers today.

It’s safe to say we had very limited marketing bandwidth and budget when Timbre was first released. Fortunately for us, Timbre was picked up by major press outlets such as TechCrunch and New York Times, and at the same time we received tremendous support from the Boston community. While the “grassroots marketing” approach has worked great for us, we are developing a more structured and streamlined marketing strategy as we have very ambitious plans coming up in the next 6 months. In fact, we just hired a Director of Marketing. Big things are on the horizon.

4. Can you describe your “Eureka” moment while developing the App?

Timbre’s mission is focused around creating a simple and innovative tool to connect music lovers with their local music scene. The “Eureka” moment came when we decided to make Timbre a purely location based music discovery app – instead of adding other features that “seemed” necessary for a music discovery app. As we discussed the first working prototype, we debated on whether we should add filters for genre, venue and artist. Matt insisted on featuring location as the only search filter, quoting “Good design sometimes is about what you don’t do, instead of what you do”.

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5. How did you come to decide the price that you would be charging users to purchase your App?

Timbre will always be free to use without any advertisements. We believe Timbre’s focus in the music industry opens multiple revenue channels that we can explore without charging our users or featuring ads in the app.

A good example is ticket sales. In 2011, worldwide concert ticket sales accounted for $10.3B of the music market. Half of those tickets were purchased through a digital medium (online/mobile) and this trend is growing. Strategic partnerships in ticket sales will enable Timbre to become a retailer of concert tickets that will help our users locate, sample and purchase tickets to a variety of concerts and festivals.

6. What gave you the kick to convert your idea into reality? What kept you awake all night long?

The majority of performing musicians rely on ticket and merchandise sales in order to earn a sustainable income. While they are able to sell their music on a variety of online music stores, digital music sales only account for a maximum of 40% of the income of an average musician. In addition, from a consumer standpoint, discovering live music can prove to be a real challenge. Every venue has its own show list, ticket providers can only promote the shows they sell tickets for, and there is no way to sample each band in your area easily. Timbre seeks to solve these problems by providing an unbiased platform for music fans to discover shows in their local area.

7. Your thoughts on paid marketing? Paid ads, reviews, sponsorship and more. What made your App’s marketing plan successful?

Paid marketing is something we have not yet explored, and there is a chance that we might not consider doing so, at least in the next 6 months. As mentioned earlier, our success so far has been a combination of a killer product and a little bit of luck. While we are enjoying the love from Apple and the support from the community, the utmost importance for us is to stay true to the simple and intuitive UI and continue improving the user experience of Timbre.

The seed funding we raised recently definitely allows us to grow at a much faster speed. Much of the funds will be applied to more development of Timbre, as we have ambitious plans coming up that will add great value to the current experience of the app. One new feature we are very excited about is the seasonal curated playlists. Ahead of the Grammys, we added a playlist of every single nominee so our users could listen to the nominated songs and albums of all 82 awards. This playlist will later be updated to seasonal playlists for national and local music festivals (like SXSW), Tastemakers’ lists and the like.

8. Your App was recently featured by Apple on the App Store. How much % does it have an impact on sales? How do you think an App can get featured?

Being featured by Apple has been incredibly valuable for us. When Timbre was first launched in Sept 2012, the app was featured as the #1 “New and Noteworthy” app during the iPhone 5 launch. The timing was absolutely fantastic as Timbre was on the main page of App Store when iPhone 5 users started downloading apps on their new iPhones. Timbre managed to attract more than 100,000 downloads in the first 6 weeks, and to date, we have seen more than 2 million artists discoveries and 70,000 ticket requests made through the app.

The App is available for free from the App Store. Get it now.