Available: iTunes US Store
K-Pop artists and their labels have made their presence known on the iTunes app store in a big way. Girls’ Generation and their RunDevilRun app. in particular set the tone not only for K-Pop apps., but also what music artists and labels should consider creating for their own entrance into the iTunes app. store.
Girls’ Generation’s RunDevilRun is about as full featured as one might wish an app. Once purchased you’ll have the ability to watch many Girls’ Generation videos on your iPhone, look at a myriad of their pictures, listen to all of their Run Devil Run album, and even check the date and time.
The clock function is the simplest feature on this app., and honestly I feel the least useful. The sole purpose of the clock feature is to show you the date and current time (24 hour military), while playing a slide show of Girls’ Generation pictures in the background. The only feature you have as a user to play with is a lock option that appears when you tap the screen. This option allows you to ‘lock’ a particular picture that you might fancy. So when you lock at the clock instead of a slide show you only see that one girl or that one picture of the group that you have chosen. While some might like this option I will caution you that it only remains locked while you look at the clock, which might not be all that bad if you’re listening to the music provided in the app. since it will continue to play even when you enter the ‘clock’ mode. Additionally this is the only time that you have the slide show option, although not the only time you can see the pictures, so I can understand people liking this feature. All in all though it’s understandably simple, and quite frankly probably not the major selling point of the app.l
Speaking of Girls’ Generation pictures the RunDevilRun app. has plenty of pictures to look at. 100 pictures to be exact! These pictures run the gambit from seemingly self shot pictures to clearly well produced studio shots. As I mentioned before the clock is the only mode where you can view all of these pictures in a slide show format; therefore, this section is very hands on and for two reasons. Specifically a) you can take screen shots and save the pictures if you’d like and b) you can click the ‘head shot’ icon in between the left and right arrows at the bottom of the picture and when you do that information about the girl on the screen will appear in the picture. For hard core fans especially I know information is everything, including birth date, interests, etc. so this might add a more personal connection for fans of Girls’ Generation. I appreciate this option if only for curiosity’s sake, and in this thinking I am a little disappointed that essentially each girls’ information is repeated for their pictures. I understand though that artists in Korea and Japan especially try to protect their privacy, so keeping that in consideration this may actually be more than one might expect traditionally and thus a privilege for hard core fans to learn. All in all I like this feature and enjoy being able to see the girls not just in their arranged photo shoots but also in their seemingly more candid moments.
This section of the app. is frankly quite self explanatory, but I’ll still take the time to delve into the video options. Seeing as how this is a RunDevilRun app. one would expect one or two of their RunDevilRun music videos, and don’t worry fans both the story version and dance version are available for viewing. In addition to those two videos RunDevilRun also offers fans the chance to see the original teaser video for RunDevilRun, and the story versions for Girls’ Generation songs Oh!, Gee, and Tell Me Your Wish (Genie). The video interface is exactly the same as if you played a video on your iPhone that you loaded on to the device yourself. This means no lag and for the price of the app. I’d be quite upset if I had any. I certainly have no complaints about the video options, and I’m particularly glad that there are that many choices to watch.
I think it’s fair to say that if you paid for the full version of this app. that the music is one of, if not, the main reasons for your purchase. Indeed when you upgrade to the full version only then do you have access to stream the full Run Devil Run album. Since this review is not about the music itself and more about the presentation of the app. I’ll exclude any commentary about the songs themselves. Instead I’ll say that I was incredibly impressed by this apps. presentation of the album.
Immediately when you load the app. you see a limited slideshow that features each of the members in their black outfits used for the RunDevilRun video. Over the slideshow there is a giant play button which you can push to begin the album, or as I prefer you can click on the music note icon to pull up the track list for RunDevilRun and then choose any song on the list to listen to. Once a song begins the play button disappears, the slideshow continues, and a spinning CD graphic appears at the bottom of the screen simulating a CD in a CD player. This really has no bearing on the actual music experience, but I think it is a very smart and cool touch.
The key functions that are available when playing the songs are generally consistent with most music players. For instance there is a pause button, which is self explanatory. There is also a progress bar which acts as a fast forward and rewind option if you tap and drag to a spot on the progress bar. At the end of the bar there is also a time played/length of song listing which is standard but appreciated. The best function available, in my opinion, is that when listening to a song you can click the top half of the screen where the slideshow is and the lyrics will pop down. Even more impressive the lyrics are separated into lines and when a line is being sung it turns white so that you can follow along. Since the lyrics are mostly written in Korean characters this might not benefit everyone; however, there is certainly a fair amount of English included in Girls’ Generation songs and perhaps this can also be used to help non-Korean speakers learn to read and write Korean a little better.
When I purchased the RunDevilRun app. I was happy to see that I not only can listen to the RunDevilRun music but that I can do so much more with the app. Tons of artist pictures, a plethora of music videos, and a really cool player made me feel that this purchase was certainly worth the money. My only major qualm, although I expected this, is that buying the app. is not equivalent to purchasing the album digitally via iTunes. In other words to listen to RunDevilRun, unless I purchase the album through another means, I will have to continually return to the app. to listen to the songs. Thankfully I feel that for me personally paying 8$ for a full album and extras is a fine compromise, but I know many fans may purchase this app. assuming they can copy the tracks to their computer, and this is simply not true.
Of course Girls’ Generation fans are the primary audience for this app.; however, if you are not K-Pop fan, and perhaps just not a fan of theirs, you’ll be happy to hear that many Korean artists are getting apps. just like these. Thus far Nu ABO, Super Junior, and 315360 also have apps. just like the RunDevilRun app., and if Neowiz Bugs, maker of these fine apps., continues to have success then hopefully we’ll see even more in the near future.
Score: 4.5 out of 5