Kids growing up today don’t even remember a time when MTV had anything to do with music. Even when I was young, MTV and VH1 had started transitioning from being the purveyors of what was cool into peddlers of terrible reality TV. Fortunately, in 2007 a company was formed that started to bring back what had made those channels cool to begin with, and I’m not talking about YouTube.
Baeble is a service that goes out and films concerts and goes back stage with some of the most popular artists today including Carly Rae Jepson, Ariana Grande, and CHVRCHES. They also go out and find new artists who they think will be the next hot ticket.
After first hearing about Baeble when T-Mobile recently “amped” its Binge On initiative, I thought it would be good to take a look at what it had to offer. Its Android app is incredibly simple. It only has two tabs: featured and categories, for discovery and browsing a catalog of music-related videos. When you open a video page, it’s just the video, an overflow menu with a share button (which unfortunately only sends to Facebook), and a handful of recommended videos.
It’s very cool how they can have these big stars in very casual situations just having a conversation about their current work. It’s like the days of old. The app features everything from full-length concerts, to music videos and interviews.
The app isn’t perfect, though, and I think that implementing a few of Android’s newer UI elements would do it a lot of good. The ability to swipe between the tabs, using the native share utility, having a share button instead of an overflow menu, and not having the app hide the status bar (because it does for some reason), would go a long way in improving the overall experience within the app. Speaking of improvements, I got a chance to interview Baeble’s CEO, David Moffly, who gave me insights into the app’s creation and where he sees it going in the future.
AndroidGuys interviews Baeble CEO David Moffly
AndroidGuys: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Baeble is a very unique concept. How did you come up with the idea?
David: I saw YouTube in 2006 after it had started and I was stunned by how it democratized and changed the fundamental nature of video distribution by using IP. Everyone was focused on cat videos and copyright violations but I saw the opportunity to build a new global platform free of national boundaries and constraints. We started shooting our first concerts in 2007 and built the video platform around this exclusive content as time and technology allowed. Today we have a complete platform that spans web, mobile web, video apps, Smart TV’s and OTT devices that reach a global audience. The Baeble Smart TV Apps are in virtually every brand in the US and most internationally. Our German partner Netrange has even built a Baeble video app for next generation car dashboards. The Android App usage is global with people from more than 100 countries using it.
AndroidGuys: How difficult has it been making your vision come true?
David: We have been a company that is self-financed with the addition of some support from friends and family. So over time we have had to be patient and judicious with our investments in programming, technology and marketing. Because of this, we haven’t had the luxury of the “go big or go home” push Venture Capital can infuse into an organization…which in the long run, is a good thing. We have seen countless companies make flashy entrances only to wind up on the scrap heap. While our approach has been slow and (by necessity) deliberate, I think this has resulted in the development of a brand that is known for high quality and focus of its work.
Baeble is certainly the hardest business project I have ever done. The everyday aspects of our business involve dealing with everything from complicated rights issues for the programming to the deep detail of the web, video streaming, distribution and monetization.
AndroidGuys: How would you say Baeble differentiates itself among its competitors?
David: No other company does what we do. We are a complete platform with amazing programming. VEVO is our closest competitor, but they exist as a vessel for music videos from its rights owners. They are getting into original programming like we do, but they are largely a logo on videos in YouTube that no one really understands. It’s not special or unique. We carefully select the bands we film based on a number of factors: Do we think this artist is interesting? Do, we think this artist has a story that needs to be told? Is this artist pushing their career along with the tools at their disposal? Some of the questions we ask when considering artists.
Also, bands and artists trust us with their only and most valuable asset, which is their music and we do our best every time to amplify it and shine a light on the artist’s talents.
AndroidGuys: What does partnering with T-Mobile on “Binge On” mean for your company?
David: For us it is a validation of the quality of our work and we are super proud to be a part of their program. Our App and our videos are good enough to be included as an option for millions of T-Mobile subscribers. Of the thousands of video apps out there, we are one of only a handful included in the program. This is a very strong validation.
AndroidGuys: How does the Android App differ from the iOS app?
David: The Android App tends to have newer features than the iOS App, though the iOS does catch up.
AndroidGuys: What advantages does Android offer to your company as a platform over iOS (and vice versa)?
David: Because it is Google, Android offers more powerful promotional tools that can put your App in front of a global audience for them to download and play with. iOS does not have the same level of promotion and discovery tools…which as a free, non-gaming app, make it very difficult to break through in the App store alone.
We (I) am very bullish on Android and the power of Google.
AndroidGuys: What, from your perspective, could Android do to make it a more developer-friendly atmosphere?
David: Our development process on Android was very straight forward. We kept the App purposely simple to allow the quality of the video programming to stand out rather than technical features. As tempting as it can be, we didn’t want the cool software to stand in the way of the video.
AndroidGuys: How do you see the Baeble application evolving in the future?
David: Over the next year we are going to be adding engagement features like notifications and play listing and other cool features that will promote watching and sharing videos. We also have a huge photo collection which we would like to feature in a fun way within the App.
AndroidGuys: How do you see your overall product evolving over time?
David: We will continue to evolve the video mix based on tastes and trends. On the software side we’ll see what people like and what they don’t and adjust accordingly.
AndroidGuys: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about?
David: We are an organization driven by a passion for what we do and we hope that this shines though.
AndroidGuys: Thanks again for taking the time to speak with us and good luck with your product going forward!