Posted October 22, 2013 by Jeff in Tunes

Applauze: Make plans to see that band on the run


Earlier this year, 955 Dreams Inc. launched the Android version of Band of the Day, a popular app that allows music fans to check out up-and-coming bands. The same company is behind Applauze, an app designed to help consumers find cheap tickets to local events. Big event-goers, we’ve read good things about the new app’s functionality and ease-of-use. We took an opportunity to learn more from Kiran Bellubbi, the company’s founder and CEO, who spoke to us about the entertainment-focused technology via phone from Lake Tahoe where he was vacationing with his family.

What originally inspired the concept for Applauze?
It was born from Band of the Day, which was runner up to Instagram for iPhone app of the year in 2011 and  now has 5 million users. It’s still growing too. Band of the Day was focused around indie and upcoming music. We wanted to sell tickets through that product. When we started sourcing the deal, we saw we were writing code to manage stuff other than indie music. The feed contained sports and theater and big acts like Justin Timberlake and Beyonce that didn’t fit the Band of the Day ethos. We started thinking about what it would be mean to build the lifestyle and entertainment app, a mobile source product that let people discover events and share and plan with their friends. They wouldn’t have to leave to purchase those tickets either; they could do that inside the same mobile product.

We set out to build the largest community of young artists in the world.

Take me back to Band of the Day. What was the inspiration for that?
That was our biggest product. Before that we had done the History of Jazz and On the Way to Woodstock. Those were essentially books. They were very successful and they’ve done really well. We wanted to build a daily use product. We wanted to find young artists we would listen to ourselves. We wanted to support those artists. There wasn’t much going on outside of Pitchfork for them. We set out to build the largest community of young artists in the world.

Talk about why music is important to you.
Music is a big part of my life. I’ve been a big music fan since I can remember. I have a small child now and I’m running a startup. I don’t have the time to discover 10 or 20 unknown artists from blogs and other places. Band of the Day is perfect. We know that millions of people are looking for one place where they can go to find new music. We’re not building this product for record labels. We don’t charge anybody anything. I think the reason I’m interested is because music is something innate to human nature.  There’s no right or wrong; it’s just there. If you do a startup [in music] and do it right, I feel like success is an order of magnitude. The scope is bigger. It’s like food or healthcare or education.

We provide the ability to learn about artists and learn about genre and buy records directly from the artist; that’s what independent record stores used to be. 

Do you think of Band of the Day as a substitute for record label or a record store?
We don’t substitute for the record label. The good ones expose the artist to more channels. I feel like we are one very big and effective channel for up-and-coming artists. In terms of the independent record store, absolutely. That’s what we did with jazz. We provide the ability to learn about artists and learn about genre and buy records directly from the artist; that’s what independent record stores used to be. I still enjoy going to Rasputin Records in the Bay Area and flipping through some music and put ting on some headphones. I don’t think that experience will ever be replaced by a digital experience.

How do you avoid the kind of service fees that StubHub or Ticketmaster charge?
We do charge service fees. Our mantra is very simple—service fees are built in. Unlike Stubhub and Ticketmaster, we don’t add anything. To print out your ticket through those sites adds another five dollars and various charges. We don’t do any of that stuff. Our pricing is very up front; we do charge a mark-up, but ours is lower. StubHub is a good comparison. They sell secondary tickets. Ticketmaster is a primary vendor and their pricing is much different.

Are you planning to offer Applauze on Android?
We have a huge roadmap and that does include Android. It generally does take us a little longer to get there, though.


Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at [email protected].