There are few iPhone apps that aren't in the photography or productivity category that impress me. I typically gravitate towards apps that will help me do my job more efficiently, keep up to date with trends in various spaces and enhance my photos. So when I offered to review the iPhone app called Panel, I was a bit skeptical. After taking a couple days to mull over the concept, however, I can see how this might be a popular app.
The premise behind Panel is to bring music lovers recommendations from a "Panel" of music industry experts, similar to how "record store owners, DJs and music writers were once the 'go-to' source for new and undiscovered music," according to the creators.
The Panel app streams two full albums per week in various categories (rock, pop, indie, alternative, jazz, etc) chosen by the week’s “Panelist.” At launch, confirmed panelists include Mark and Wendy Redfern, founders of Under the Radar magazine, Jason Hughes, owner of Seattle’s iconic Sonic Boom records, popular music blogger Justin Gage of Aquarium Drunkard, producer/musician Matt Bayles and Peter Harper, sculptor and Ben Harper’s brother.
Overall, this is a very cool concept. Social media, for brands at least, is all about providing the users with an inside "view" of inner workings. Consumers want to feel like they are a click away from interacting with celebrities. Panel could be a winner if they expand their music types and bring more marketable "Panelists" to the project. For the cost of $2.99, I'm not sure if it'll take off, as the music collection is probably a little shallow at this early stage of the game. But envision the possibility of the Panel app having different versions based on genres. I'm more apt to spend the money on an app that speaks directly to my interests.
Functionally, the app works well. It's not too deep. Navigation is easy to use and understand. The sound quality is decent for a streaming-type app. The best feature is the interview with the Panelists, giving users the inside scoop feel.
Again, Panel has great promise and should be an app that music enthusiasts keep an eye on.
Do you have the Panel app? What are your thoughts?