Jammit is a music tech startup that provides a platform for playing along with a variety of well-known rock tracks. They are distinguished by their use of original master recordings and detailed transcriptions in both standard notation or tablature.
Jammit's an impressive software achievement and also a rather impressive feat of licensing but also feels a bit old-fashioned.
I wasn't that surprised to hear that their best sellers are 30 to 40 years old though I bet Nirvana also does well. That would certainly fit its use as a rock-focused educational tool.
How Jammit Works
Jammit launched out of beta in January. The basic software is free. You buy instrument or vocal-specific versions of a variety of rock tracks from acts such as Alice Cooper, Boston, Anthrax, Kiss, Lamb of God, Nirvana and other arena acts. You can then isolate each instrument and the vocals on the track but, most importantly, you can play along with your chosen instrument following the standard notation or tablature.
As noted in a press release, Jammit is a product of "five years of development, near-impossible licensing obstacles and an extended beta period that yielded three industry awards." Given the fact that they use master tracks for their songs, you can bet those licensing terms were onerous.
Most individual Jammit tracks appear to be priced at $2.99, some a bit higher with sale tracks at $.99 or $1.99. The pricing is clearly reflective of both tech development and licensing terms and may even be a bit low but it's also a reminder that when you take a song and make it available in a different form of media or on a different tech platform you can often charge more per song than the song itself would normally cost.
While that seems entirely fair in this case, the early days of compact discs and later of ringtones are especially strong examples of premium pricing based on new technology that actually costs less than earlier forms to produce or that even provide snippets of songs in a new context.
In June, Jammit made multiple announcements including a Windows version in addition to previous releases for Macs and iOS devices.
They also announced the Line 6 Mobile In digital interface which connects a guitar to an iPad or iPhone:
"When Mobile In is connected, Jammit will load amp and effect sounds custom matched to the song, automatically changing the sound when appropriate as the song plays."
Line 6 Mobile In is priced at $79.99. You can check out a demo by Doug Doppler on YouTube.
Founder Scott Humphrey says that one of their goals is to have the "most accurate notation in the world." That's an important part of making Jammit a whole product complete unto itself given that all sorts of transcriptions of varying levels of quality can be found online. As we've all observed, lots of folks will settle for lower quality if the price is free.
More: Jammit FAQ
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) blogs about business at Flux Research: Business Changes and about dance at All World Dance: News. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.