Sarah Buggle, Collective London / The Buggle
Contagious speaks to the creator of real-time nightlife streaming app
A new application for iOS devices helps people decide which club or bar to head to next by providing live music streams of nearby venues.
The Buggle relies upon proprietary hardware, called 'The Buggle Box', which sits in DJ booths and transmits the tracks being played to nearby devices. Users can then search for all participating bars via an in-app map, and can listen to the real-time feed by tapping one of the pins on the map. Using Last.fm's song recognition technology, the app also allows fans to filter venues based on eight musical genres.
Having selected their club, The Buggle lets users share their choice of venue and the accompanying audio clip via Facebook, Twitter, email and SMS.
The concept has been developed by Hyper Island and Central Saint Martins graduate Sarah Buggle, in conjunction with Collective London. Contagious caught up with Sarah, and asked her about her future plans for the app.
Contagious: Do clubs need to pay for the 'Buggle Box' to be added to the DJ booth?
SB: In beta we 'lease' the Buggle box to them, so there's no charge up front but they enter a tiered subscription model after two months. The basic rate stays free, allowing a reduced number of listening hours a week. We're still working out the exact figures.
What's your future vision, in terms of regions to roll it out to?
In the next six months I want to get it really viable for Shoreditch and Dalston - but I'd like to also spread it to different areas of London and UK cities and eventually Europe. Then I'll be looking to take it to city-based festivals and events as a package. I'm also working on an Android version of the existing application.
Do you plan to add any additional elements/options to the app in the future, if so what are these?
I hope to develop a bar manager's app - so they can easily update their nights in real time. This would also allow them to push out live promotions such as drinks offers and guest listing (for an additional fee). I also want to push the emphasis more on the DJs playing - linking to their online profiles and adding in simple feedback features.
Would you open to partnerships with venue owners / brands?
Yes. The Buggle is actively looking for brands to partner with. Ideally this would be through sponsorship of the app.
When asked about the insight behind the idea, Buggle said: 'When I was studying at Hyper Island's UK base in Manchester it wasn't easy to find out what was playing around the city's clubs. Frustrated by the obscure DJ names and genres on club posters, I realised we needed an alternative - a live audio flyer.' This is an interesting pain-point to identify - many urban areas now have so many choices of bars and clubs, and these venues can also change their music policies from night to night - so this utility helps reduce the chances of queuing for a club only to be let down by the DJ's genre selection.
The app could also, though, be used as a kind of 'set-checker'. Many large clubs now boast a packed schedule of different DJs each night, and it can be hard to find out when your favourite DJ is intending to take to the decks. This app could help to alleviate this uncertainty, and it will be interesting to see if set times are integrated into the design in the future.
This concept is ripe for a nightlife-associated product, such as a drinks brand, to 'own'. Similar concepts, such as Carlsberg's Crowdit app, have managed to integrate useful services (such as maps, navigation, venue inspiration etc) with product discounts and vouchers, benefiting both the venue and the brand simultaneously. Whilst The Buggle is still in early stages of production and trial, it seems clear that similar brand advantages lie within this smart utility.
The Buggle app
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