The iPad may not be the first device you'd use to try and discover new music, but thanks to a new app called Discovr from Australian developers Jammbox, you can not only find new music, but also view it in an awesome graph format.
The app works by letting you insert the name of an artist you like. It then show you similar bands, with connected lines on the iPad's screen. You can tap on one of these artists to see other similar artists, or you can double tap an artist to drill down for more information, including a bio, reviews, links and YouTube videos. From there, you can share information on artists via Twitter or Facebook, or add them as a favourite to the homescreen.
Dave from Jammbox describes the app's design in geek terms, for the Giz audience:
Discovr is based on graph theory and graph visualization. Relationships between artists are ordinated in 2D space using a force directed graph layout algorithm and particle simulation modeling. Each graph node (artist) is represented by a simple physical particle model with mass and electric charge. Each edge (the connecting line between the nodes) is modeled as a spring. The system is then simulated according to the laws of physics to obtain the graph layout. Particles are moved around in space by the forces originating from electric interactions between particles and from spring interactions between particles and the springs they are connected to. More simply, nodes repel each other due to their electric charges, while edges try to pull the nodes closer to each other. The graph constantly evolves and adjusts as it searches for equilibrium.
Having played around with the $3.99 app for a while this morning, I can honestly say that the implementation is flawless. The only issue I had was that the link to artists' pages on iTunes didn't seem to work, making the actual purchasing of new music a bit more difficult. But watching the tree of connected artists branch out and recalibrate as you select more and more musicians is both impressive and an effective way of discovering new music. It's worth every cent of its $4 asking price.