Vertigo teamed up with KEXP and created the KEXP Artist Discovery application: a Windows 8 app that lets music lovers find new bands and listen to great music. KEXP is a great Seattle radio station and they are great music curators. They have a ton of music content - a live digital radio broadcast, an archive of broadcast shows, in-studio recording sessions, video from shows around the world, music podcasts, a song of the day, and a huge library of band images on Flickr. Our goal was to surface all of this great content in a compelling and natural way, better connecting music lovers with great new artists and with KEXP.
Windows 8 made it easy for us to give the KEXP Artist Discovery app a beautiful and natural user experience. Our deep navigation capabilities turn the rich artist and media content into a very compelling application. For example, if you find an interesting artist, you can pin that band to the Windows Start screen. When you launch the app from that tile, you'll come right to the artist page in the application. There are connections on every screen to more content and more artists. After you sit down with this application for a few minutes, you'll want to buy a Windows 8 tablet just so you can enjoy KEXP from your couch. It's really engaging.
Great audio and video playback were essential, and Windows 8 didn't disappoint us. Being able to play audio in the background while using other applications lets us offer a very "radio-like" experience. We also implemented the Play To feature, which means that users can stream music and music video from our app to other devices.
The charms provide a nice and unobtrusive way of integrating the app with the outside world. We support the sharing contract to let the user tell their friends about great artists they find on KEXP, using their favorite social media applications. We also use the devices charm to play audio and video to other devices on the user's network.
Windows Azure is key to our architecture. The content for the Windows 8 application comes from a number of different sources. Music and videos are hosted in several content management systems. Editorial content for the song of the day comes from an RSS feed. Images are stored on Flickr. The metadata for what's playing live on KEXP comes from a sophisticated backend system that KEXP built called the music service fabric. To aggregate all of this content, we built worker roles in Azure that acquire and organize all of the data. We also built Azure web roles to host web services that cache the content and expose it to the Windows 8 application.
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KEXP - Windows App Store