Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

955 Dreams Jazzes Up iPad With Interactive Music History App

The tablet interface can’t help but make your brain think of the future of books dancing across the screen. A little startup called 955 Dreams is bringing some of that imagination into reality today with the release of its History of Jazz iPad app.

History of Jazz has whimsical, tactile navigation, with animated chronological browsing rather than the standard pagination of an ebook. The app includes integrations such as iTunes music purchasing, playing videos and songs over household speakers through Apple AirPlay, and showing Wikipedia bios and YouTube videos. It also offers a “screensaver mode” that turns the iPad into a sort of History of Jazz coffee table book.

While the folks at 955 Dreams are clearly passionate about the subject matter of jazz, what they’ve really done is created a custom music-oriented interface for existing online content. The price for this design, curation and integrations is $9.99 at launch.

955 Dreams plans to release other music apps as well as early education titles. Members of the team–which only has three employees and seed funding from 500 Startups and Mitch Kapor– had in the past released apps such as “Mario Batali Cooks” for the iPhone with a previous company called High Five Labs.

But 955 Dreams will face competition from the likes of further along startups and existing publishers such as Inkling, which is overhauling existing textbooks for the iPad, and has deep partnerships with publishers, lots of funding, and close ties to Apple. 955 Dreams Co-founder and CEO Kiran Bellubbi said a more apt competitor might be Callaway Digital Arts, the iFund-backed startup that made the innovative iPad apps Martha Stewart Bakes Cookies and Miss Spider’s Tea Party.

The app currently doesn’t include social features, but Bellubbi said a later version will include ways for users to share their jazz collections and vote on the top 100 jazz records of all time.

Here’s a video from 955 Dreams demonstrating how the History of Jazz app works:

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik