If your idea of a kick-ass jukebox is a hulking old thing with rusty trip levers, a disco ball, and every Jimmy Buffet album ever, then we entreat you to stop reading immediately. Because what Frog Design has done to the jukebox will appear downright blasphemous.
Frog has created a jukebox for iPad junkies. Designed for the bar and restaurant entertainment company TouchTunes Interactive Networks, Virtuo has a sleek, multifaceted touchscreen that Frog built to better reflect how the 21-to-35 set (bars' most valued customer base) buys and listen to music today.
Digital jukeboxes, of course, are nothing new and have been around in various forms for about 10 years now. But most of them just try to copy the retro stylings of their analog brethren. Frog's innovation was to embrace the digital. "The TouchTunes Virtuo has reinvented the experience of what a jukebox can be," says Jonas Damon, creative director at Frog's New York studio." It does this not by emulating the old devices, but by building on current interaction behaviors and converging them with iconic industrial design."
In short, Virtuo turns browsing for a soundtrack to the night's boozy debauchery into a sort of video game. Users can find songs by tapping out keywords or lyrics on a pop-up keyboard. Or they can scroll through albums organized single-file across the screen -- a dead-simple arrangement that makes old-timey jukebox interfaces feel like something approaching a Rube Goldberg machine.
From there, users can whittle down their choices to specific artists, hits, and so forth, or build their own playlists (with an iTunes-esque MyTouchTunes account). A feature even lets staff customize the jukebox so that, as Frog explains on its blog, "the punk rock bars can stay angsty and the country bars can stay gold." And, yeah, Margaritaville can stay Margaritaville.
[Image courtesy of Frog Design]