The most-watched type of content on YouTube are official music videos. And the second most popular type is the fan-made music video–typically self-recorded footage of people wildly Gangnam-styling in their bedrooms or lipsyncing Disney ballads in their cars. In fact, the record industry generates more ad revenue from mashups, lip syncs, and tributes than it does from official videos themselves.
Scott Snibbe, the interactive media artist behind the MoMA-acquired Bjork Biophilia app, saw untapped creative and business potential in the millions of fans obsessed with making DIY music videos. “It’s really hard to make a good fan music video,” Snibbe says in a phone interview. “One video can take people hours or days to shoot.”
With that in mind, Snibbe went to work on Eyegroove, which lets you make high-quality, professional-looking videos quickly and easily using a smartphone. Packed with a dozen special effect options, no knowledge of film editing software is required. Now, the company is getting ready to release the second iteration of its app.
Eyegroove is partnered with SoundCloud, which lets users make videos for any of the millions of songs on the streaming service. This easy, instant access to music to pair with your video is one thing that sets app apart from existing music video apps. There’s also a built-in social network, letting you easily share your Grooves, as they’re called, with your friends.
The app has been in a quiet beta period for the past year, testing with a small group of users.
“The app is extremely popular with teens, especially teenage girls,” Snibbe says. It’s expanded the creative potential of the video selfie as genre with its colorful filters–most users film themselves singing directly into the camera.
Eyegroove has also taken off with certain subcultures, utilized for projects beyond the standard fan video, including skate vids and footage of kids and babies.
“What Eyegroove lets people do is make videos that reflect the way they think about their own life,” Snibbe says. If you take simple raw footage of yourself skateboarding, it probably won’t convey how you’re feeling when skateboarding–maybe like you’re flying, like you’re on top of the world. But music and filters add emotional impact to such footage. “The effects make everybody’s daily life look mythical.”
In terms of its visual look, Snibbe says Eyegroove draws influence from the punk aesthetic and from the early days of MTV–its logo is a tongue sticking out of eye. “We tried to get away from pure lines and rectangles so the app would have a little personality.”
Snibbe believes Eyegroove represents the next wave of the multimedia music format. In terms of this format’s evolution, “the LP was a rich multimedia experience of album art, liner notes, and lyrics; then MTV came along adding video; and then YouTube adding choice,” Snibbe says. Eyegroove isn’t just visual and musical, but social and creative, too. While the beta is available now, Eyegroove plans to release the non-beta version to the public in mid-May.