Ge Wang, the quirky Stanford assistant music professor who co-founded the iPhone music app makerSmule, delivered an update yesterday on his company’s growth since starting out just eight months ago.
Smule’s big hit is Ocarina, a cool app that we’ve written about a few timeswhere you blow into the microphone of the iPhone to make the surprisingly rich sounds of an ocarina flute. Wang said in a speech today at the eComm mobile tech conference in Burlingame, Calif., that nearly 700,000 people have now bought the 99-cent iPhone app since November.
There are more than 25,000 iPhone apps now, according to Mobclix. But Ocarina stands out as memorable. The app seems to work like magic, but Smule’s software analyzes the noise coming in via the microphone. The software can recognize changes in the force of the blowing, and the user can control the sounds by holding the iPhone up or down and tapping on virtual flute holes on the touch-screen display.
It’s not so much the revenue that’s impressive, but the passion of the fans and where the creators want to take them. YouTube is chock full of Ocarina enthusiasts playing songs such as Stairway to Heaven, Amazing Grace, and the theme of the video game The Legend of Zelda. These fans are answering Wang’s question about “what does it mean to be a Smulean?”