The Vinyl District is an outstanding vinyl blog that has gone above and beyond just writing about LPs, seven-inch singles, and turntable culture; they now also offer a record store locator app letting vinyl junkies world-wide discover and share record stores. Turntabling put a few questions to TVD’s Tim Broun about the app, developed by Shoutem and available for both Android phones and the iPhone.
To begin, how did the idea for this app begin? Was there a particular day or something you can point to that made you say, “This is a really good idea–why isn’t there a record store app already?” Or, perhaps, “Why isn’t there a GOOD record store app already?”
Tim Broun: Around the same time last year, I started writing for The Vinyl District, and met the guys at Shoutem – who actually developed the app. The idea for the app itself was something that had been jelling for a while as I’ve been involved with digital music & online marketing for some time now, and I was looking for a way to combine both the physical & digital worlds. Opportunity knocked, and everything was in synch.
What did it take to develop the app? How crowd-source dependent is the record store database? I was lucky – I have a connection with the developer, Shoutem, and was able to put it together with a lot of help from them. Regarding crowd sourcing info – at the beginning I used a lot of online information to start off. Now that we’re a few months into the life of the app we’re very dependent on crowd sourced info. There is no way we can remain relevant without our users participating – what are stores up to? Moving, closing, opening, etc…
Without being TOO technical, how does the app work? At the moment we have six tabs of information in the app:
1. The Vinyl District blog feed – this works off of an RSS feed.
2. The All Stores – this is the meat of the app & works off of a back end database that I oversee.
3. Social – this is the social aspect of the app which users can leave comments & photos on if they’re signed into the app either with a dedicated account, or via twitter or facebook.
4. Record Fairs calendar – this works off of a feed we’ve set up in partnership with http://www.recordshows.net/ – a website run with a record dealing friend of mine.
5. Profile – the profile specific to each user & phone.
6. Contact/About us – info on The Vinyl District & how to contact us.
What does the vinyl buyer get out of participating in crowd-sourcing the record store details? How can vinyl lovers contribute to the record buying experience by contributing updates and info? At the moment, I can only say they get the same enjoyment out of sharing information that they might get out of blogging, or posting on Facebook. Very soon we might be launching some features which will further benefit users of the app, but I can’t really say at the moment. Vinyl lovers can currently contribute by emailing us at email@example.com, posting on the wall of the app, or on the app facebook page (http://facebook.com/tvdrecordstorelocator).
The app went global recently, tell us what it took to do that, and which countries can we expect to find record shops in? It was global the moment we launched, but it took a little research to get listings of stores from other countries to include in our database. Most of the stores we have are in the US & UK, but we currently include stores in about 25 countries. The list currently reads:
– Czech Republic
– New Zealand
– United Kingdom
– United States
What other projects are you working on? Anything vinyl-centric? Between the app and my day job, I’m super busy! I DJ from time to time, and hit record stores when I can. Especially in upstate NY near Woodstock & New Paltz. I blog at Stupefaction, and The Vinyl District, and also work with a music photographer named Eugene Merinov. I also run a Facebook page for the app here. And we encourage everyone to let us know about store openings, closings, and places we may not know about either on the facebook page, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.