Appolicious powers Verizon Educational Tools

How Qello brings concert videos to Android tabs and smartphones

by Brad Spirrison

Dan Doman, CTO“You can penetrate any place you go,” as the Beatles sang in I Dig a Pony, “and you can syndicate any boat you row.”

This in many ways describes the multimedia distribution strategy of Qello, which transmits high-definition concert videos across multiple devices. In the mobile media arena, Qello (for smartphone and tablet) launched on Android first and quickly became this reviewers favorite tablet app of all time.

Qello’s comprehensive catalog includes a wealth of classic rock performances as well as shows from multiple genres including blues, disco, country and much much more. Users can browse for shows by artist, genre and decade. The app lets users sample streamed performances from the device. Users can then pay a $5 rental fee to secure the performance for thirty days.

Way cool.

In this edition of Meet the Makers, we check-in with Qello chief technology officer Dan Doman to talk about the app and how the company syndicates this great collection of content to multiple devices.

Doman also discusses the company’s multi-tiered revenue model, Qello’s unique approach to developing and marketing within the Android platform, and of course what his favorite concert videos are.

Enjoy.

Appolicious: As an avid music fan and concertgoer, Qello had me at hello. How did this app come together and what is the background of the app's developers?

Dan Doman: The whole thing started when Brian Lisi, Qello's CEO, was watching a concert in Amsterdam back in 2008 and wanted to capture the moment to view and share later. Qello was then founded on two principles; content licensing and technology. The company aimed to develop a state of the art platform for streaming digital content across all new media devices. The market and mobile world was prime for this kind of content. Our team has a very wide range of backgrounds including systems development, high performance computing, online advertising, graphics design, marketing and of course music. But all of us have a common passion for music. We hope everyone will find our content as exciting and fun to watch and listen to as we do.

APPO: Qello is a free app (woo-hoo!). But what are the primary ways you make money right now? What are the longer-term business development plans?

DD: One of the first things we always knew was that a single revenue model isn't the way to go. We have always looked at a mix of sources, from syndication, rentals, device and carrier partnerships, advertising, and more. This gives us flexibility in what we do and where we go. It affords us many partnership opportunities and for our users, more opportunities to enjoy our content via these different models.

APPO: What inspired your decision to launch on Android first?

DD: Android is the fastest growing mobile market. We developed a smaller mobile application and then actually delayed our launch so that we could introduce our first version as a ground-up build specifically for the Honeycomb Tablet OS. Then we took the things that we liked in the Tablet version and re-factored our hand- held application with those features. We are huge proponents of user testing and we found nonlinear Concert Film viewing would prove to be successful, hence our experience to watch track by track or start to finish.

Our ultimate goal is to launch the Android Advantage, which ties together all Google devices including, handheld, honeycomb, and Google TV. We plan on launching a service that allows a user to have all their concerts available in the digital cloud via Google. We just think it’s super cool to create your own concert and have it playing in the background during a party.

APPO: Are there plans to create an iOS version of the app?

DD: Yes, it’s a different platform and we will take the best of their technology and build to that rather than cloning our Android versions. Each is unique in its own way and our aim is to always instill the nuances of each respective platform.

APPO: Describe the marketing challenges and opportunities you face driving downloads to Android devices.

DD: Great question. Today there isn’t SEO for App discovery. Luckily, we have support of the music artists we feature to create outbound reach to the fans so they are aware that they can watch their favorite artist in concert anytime. Moreover, Google has been an incredible partner and support. We are trying to tie web into mobile awareness. For instance, driving traffic from YouTube promotional videos to the Android Market. We are all about capturing existing traffic and creating awareness within a built-in fan base. The content we monetize spans five generations – there are tons of people who not only love music, but who are also consumers of the new media revolution.

APPO: From a development perspective, how do you go about creating an app that is pleasing to the eyes and ears of users that can also be accessed from multiple devices (including a tablet-specific version) on a range of carriers?

DD: We looked at other applications and what we liked and didn't like and then built from our own vision. We put in the features, user experience, and design elements that we wanted and enjoyed. In simple terms, we didn't build the applications based on what the OS and devices could do, we designed the applications based on what we wanted them to look like and only then figured out how to make those ideas and elements actually work technically.

APPO: What are the three biggest things in the mobile media space that keep you up at night?

DD: a) Keeping our vision focused. There are so many things that we can do.

b) Bandwidth and the variety in device capability - both of which we know are rapidly moving in our favor.

c) All the great concerts we see.

APPO: Finally, what is your favorite all-time concert video?

DD: Hmm... That’s like asking me what my favorite movie is... So I think I'll cheat and tell you what my three favorite concert videos are: James Brown, Earth Wind and Fire and Queen. They’re all amazing shows with amazing music.