The Death Cab for Cutie iPhone application.

Death Cab for Cutie - iPhone

The American indie-rock band Death Cab for Cutie made some waves in the geek world last week by releasing an iPhone app. The application’s release was well covered in the blogosphere and a reoccurring theme was, “Every band should have their own app!”. So today’s post is a question to you. As a self described iPhone junkie I want an app for my own band… but is there a way? I see two barriers to make this happen. First, unless there is a white box way to make iPhone apps (is there?) then I would need to hire a programmer. Second, even if I had an official app I would have to have it cleared by Apple before it enters the store.

With those two barriers in mind I think the best way forward would be a web app/interface. So if you know any bands who created web interfaces for the iPhone send me the links in the comments please. I wonder if there is a service like or Rapid Weaver specifically for iPhone web interfaces. By the way, the next version of Wire to the Ear will include an iPhone optimized site.

Take a closer look at the Death Cab for Cutie iPhone app: click here

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Oliver Chesler

"Hello my name is Oliver and I'm going to tell you a story." I have been recording music since 1989 under the name The Horrorist. I have released over 60 singles and 4 full length albums. To hear my music please go to:

8 thoughts on “The Death Cab for Cutie iPhone application.”

  1. I hadn’t heard about this Death Cab app (I haven’t even heard Narrow Stairs yet, whoops), but is there really a market for this kind of thing? When I think of concert listings I tend to group by venue, rather than artist, unless the artist is local (Francis and the Lights at Bowery Ballroom Thursday).

    Oh, wait, I should have actually looked at the screenshot. It’s basically a website. Never mind, then. That’s pretty cool.

    Anyway, regarding apps: apparently people are able to distribute apps independently (and the app store submission process doesn’t seem too strict), although there is still the $99 yearly developer fee. I’ve yet to buy myself an iPhone so I’m not too familiar with the process.

    That said, I am a web developer and have been itching to start working on iPhone-enabled sites. Get in touch if you’d like to talk about this ;)

  2. I do like a bit of Death Cab, but I think an app is a bit far-fetched. I don’t even own an iPhone, but I can’t imagine this app giving fans much that they can’t get by simply visiting the website…

    However, the idea of an app from which users can quickly get information (tour dates, discography, bios etc) on their favourite bands and artists and links to downloads and other artists they might like might be cool… kinda like a meets Wiki on your phone…

  3. Web apps in the mobile space are like the web circa the 1990’s, tens of browser configs playing on hundreds of device configs (bit-depth, screen size etc. etc.)…

    Making a web-site that “works” for the iPhone is fine but you exclude and under serve the 95% of mobile users who are not using an iPhone.

    The good news is that there’s a solution out there. You need a hosting company that has an SDP (Service Delivery Platform), examples are Drutt from Ericsson and Changing Worlds from Amdocs… These provide specialist mobile web-services that re-config. the page on the fly to suit the device being used, and they have profiles of 95% of all mobile devices(including the iPhone). They’re also designed to provide a web-interface for the non-coders amongst us and thus allow anyone to design and deploy their own mobile web site.

    Bad news is these products are aimed at Telco’s so not many ISP/WebHosting Service have the fiscal where-with-all to get a license….

    (full disclosure -I work for Ericsson – but everything I say here is just me not them.)

  4. Lindon, an “iPhone” site is really just a different CSS file.
    For example:

    It’s like specifying a different stylesheet for printing. Of course there are considerations for optimization, lots of AJAX takeovers, etc., but I would imagine that most of the other modern handhelds use a similar rendering engine. And if they don’t, they’re lagging behind significantly.

  5. John,

    Err…we could get into a d*ck-measuring contest here but….We’ve been doing web sites for mobile devices for over 4 years and our experience is that “just a different CSS file” does not in any way cut it. I guess the key here is in:

    “I would imagine that most of the other modern handhelds use a similar rendering engine”

    Our experience is that this is for sure NOT the case. Modern (meaning, say, last 12 months) leave 60+% of devices out in the cold for a start…I can think of 4 different rendering engines with significant market pentration that deployed in the last 12 months alone…

    As to lagging behind, Lagging in what way? Popularity? (still Nokia devices by a fair margin, it’s a long tail…go figure) Power? (it’s a toss up Symbian vs Andriod vs iPhone) OS (Symbian, WinCE, Linux all massively ourt sell iPhone here) Screen Resolution? (man there’s so many to pick here…)

    Just do a quick web-search on only one media type(say..of audio) and check what the acceptable/playable formats on mobile devices are and you’ll see a massive range of deployed options all with significant market share.

    In the end if it were just a CSS file the SDP’s wouldn’t be selling to the telco’s (who know a little about mobile device capabilities) for multi-million dollar license fees.

    However if you’ve got magic-CSS ju-ju that can fix all these issues then wow do we want to hear from you…


  6. Whoa, didn’t mean to rile you up. What I meant was that because Safari iPhone is just a modified version of Safari OSX and still uses WebKit, the only reason for a special iPhone-enabled site is to tailor the experience to a very specific interface, and one that could, with few exceptions, work nearly as well without those modifications.

    And that’s what I meant by “lagging behind,” too. From what I gather, most other handhelds have rather stripped-down rendering engines (although apparently Android uses WebKit too) and before iPhone (and the proliferation of 3G certainly had something to do with it as well), “mobile-enabled site” generally meant “list of plain links.”

    Anyway, this is not the place to discuss this. If you’d like to chat some more, you can email me ( I’d be happy to keep this conversation going!

  7. Hi Oliver.
    There is a company called kyte which offers a product for creating promotional iPhone apps. Their platform has been adopted by MTV amongst others. I think their intended client base seems to be majors and other large corporations but it might be worth checking out.

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