ZoozBeat: Mobile Music Making

Dr. Gil Weinberg, out of the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology, founded ZooZ Mobile to transform the cell phone into a platform for non-musicians to be able to express themselves musically using gestures. The company’s first mobile app, ZooZBeat, which was Titled ‘Awesomeness’ by Tech Crunch the day it launched, turned a phone into a gesture based musical studio, allowing the user to pick an instrument, and then make music by gesturing with his phone--a tap produced a different kind of sound than a shake. With the support of a Phase 1 SBIR grant from the NSF, Dr. Weinberg was able to develop the Musical Information Retrieval (MIR) technology, to automate the process of preparing any song to work with ZOOZbeat.

Watch Gil play with the app:

"The app saw half a million downloads and was the # 1 app in the music category for several weeks,” Gil tells us of the initial launch. “The whole idea was using gestures smartly to make music, and then sharing it with your friends”, he explains. This was followed by several successful collaborations, with artists like Too $hort and brands like Sprite. Most recently, they created an app in partnership with Coke called My Beat Maker, based on the official Coke anthem for the 2012 London Olympics!

As is often the case in the app world, a big launch is followed by a plateauing and then a tapering of interest. Dr. Weinberg tells us, “Despite the huge initial success of the app, the first version might have been a little too sophisticated for complete novices, and a little too simple for professionals.” To keep momentum going, he started tweaking the app and developing a desktop app that would not only allow you to create your own music or manipulate an existing song through gestures, but actually create mixes or mash-ups of multiple songs, layering and transposing them, and putting them together in different ways, supported by a Phase II NSF grant. Right before the launch however, Dr. Weinberg decided to take it a step further, and add a social gaming framework, to create a product that is more aligned with current customer demand and market trends.

They are in the final stages of product development, and we can hope to see a cool new app that is a social mash up game based on music technology developed by ZooZ Mobile sometime later this year.