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Why Now is the Right Time For Indie Devs to be Gathering

I’m trying out Medium for this next piece. I still plan to write the bulk of my posts here, but over the past week I’ve been spending more and more time over on Medium, and I think it’s an interesting space.

Why Now is the Right Time for Indie Devs to Be Gathering

Airplane Mode’s First Music Video

Airplane Mode’s first music video goes live today. I can’t even express how much fun this was to make. Nor can I express my gratitude for everyone involved in the process.

I’ll have more to say on the Airplane Mode blog later. Dave has written a wonderful piece about putting the video together from his perspective.

In the meantime, enjoy the video. And if you’re in NYC tonight, come to Subject LES for our release party at 7pm.

And don’t miss our podcast episode about this song. Lots of background info, for those of you who like the inside scoop.

Setlists 2.0

Setlists 2.0 finally hits the App Store today. It’s a huge update that involved not only tons of under-the-hood improvements to take advantage of Apple’s latest iOS technologies, but also the addition of a large number of our most requested new features. To say it was a massive undertaking is an understatement. The team really outdid themselves on this one.

Setlists 2

I can’t wait to use it on stage during the next few Airplane Mode gigs.

The most interesting aspect of this update for most of my readers, I’m guessing, is the change we’re making to our pricing strategy. For years, Setlists has always been a paid-up-front, “premium” app at $9.99 USD. This time around, though, we’ve decided to experiment with making the app free to download, with a single in-app purchase to unlock the app’s full potential.[1]

Will this make Setlists a better business for us? We’ve looked at a lot of other apps that have similar strategies, and we’ve tried to avoid the pitfalls others have warned us about—but time will tell what the results of our experiment will be.

One interesting way to look at this switch is that our marketing no longer has the burden of making the sale. Our web site, our screenshots, whatever press we get, whatever ads we buy—all of that now only needs to convince people to download and try the app. Still not an easy task, but it’s easier than asking them to fork over money for an app they’ve never used.

The app itself now has to make the sale. And that sits better with me. I’d rather be judged by the app than the ads we place for the app or how pretty our screenshots are. Whatever the downsides of freemium (and there are many) that one change is certainly a good thing.

We’re confident once musicians try Setlists, a large number of them will find it suits their needs. So much so that we made the price to unlock $14.99 rather than $9.99. This might not be a “free trial” officially, but as with a free trial, our buyers aren’t being forced to take as great a risk, and thus we can charge accordingly.

In any event, everyone at Bombing Brain is looking forward to much smaller, incremental updates for a long while after this.

  1. I know, we’re late to the freemium party, but we’re still not at all convinced that freemium is right for every app out there.  ↩

Airplane Mode: Episode 1

I’ve been a musician since before I owned my first computer. Music will always be my first love. To feed my creativity in this way is beyond exciting. I hope you enjoy:

Airplane Mode Episode 1: Let’s Start a Band

There is much, much more to come. We’ve got the songs written and are in the process of recording all of them to the best of our abilities. Along the way, we’ll be documenting our process, our thinking, and everything in between. We’re just getting started.

A very special thanks to Hover for being our first patron in this adventure. They have always been a great supporter of the tech community; to see them supporting independent music makes me respect them that much more. Don’t forget to use “tidalwave” when you sign up to save 10% on your purchase.

And you too can join Hover in patronizing the arts. Sign up for our Patreon here.

Read more from Dave on why we’re doing the podcast here.

More on McDonald’s Promo Shots

As a follow up to my post yesterday, check out this video from McDonald’s Canada on the actual process they use for taking product shots.

(Thanks to @greghao on Twitter for the link.)

A couple of things I want to point out from this video:

  • Part of the reason for manipulating the burger is to be sure that all ingredients are visible in the shot. This is actually critical. If they just shot the burger as-is, and I didn’t see that it contained onions, for instance, I’d be pretty pissed when it arrived with onions. So the ingredients all need to be arranged to be hanging out of the bun. Something that would be of no concern for a production burger.
  • They spend a ton of time getting the photo correct, so that they need to do little in post-processing after the fact. This is good advice for us on our screenshots as well. If you have a content-rich app, especially, take the time to craft really good stand-in content, so you don’t have to massage it in Photoshop after the fact.
  • They spend several hours crafting this burger and setting it up to be shot. If you wanted your burger to look like the photos, in other words, you’d have to wait quite a while in that drive-thru line.
  • Note, the marketing director doesn’t seem at all concerned that making these changes, even the ones that are purely cosmetic, such as “repairing” dimples on the bun and moving the cheese around, is in any way unethical. She simply believes in showing the product in the best light possible. Her goal is to make the shot “appetizing.” (How eating the burger will make you feel.)
  • While Charles had quipped that the Special Sauce is applied with tweezers in our podcast discussion, they actually use a syringe.

Meanwhile, what, exactly, is the right side of a burger? The photographer mentions showing the right side of both burgers. Do round objects have sides?