Hollywood A-lister and avid art collector Leonardo DiCaprio has just invested in a new app called Magnus. The app has been described as “Shazam for art,” as it allows users to quickly identify artworks much the same way the Shazam app can pinpoint music, movies, and television shows.
“Visual art is a powerful tool for spreading ideas, memorializing history, and bringing people together around a common purpose,” DiCaprio said in a statement. “I am proud to partner with Magnus as the app continues to educate people about the art around them.”
Here’s how it works. Users go to a gallery and take a picture of an artwork. Magnus then compiles all relevant information pertaining to the piece, including the title, artist, and monetary worth.
Founder Magnus Resch thinks the app has the potential to revolutionize the art industry, particularly as it relates to buying and selling pieces. He believes that having this information available at one’s fingertips makes sellers more accountable. But not everyone is on board with his philosophy.
“I think with every disruptive technology, it’s always a process, so our app is disrupting the art market and making it more transparent,” Resch told Vanity Fair. “The art market has always been more opaque and not transparent. So if somebody comes around and tries to make it transparent, it will meet resistance.”
Assuming this is true, it’s no wonder that sellers aren’t huge fans. But according Resch, the majority of interest is coming from collectors, who, like DiCaprio, want to make art more accessible.
“Collectors love our app,” Resch exclaimed. “They have to pay for the information that they get from our app for free. They take a picture and they get all the information—information that they’ve never had before. It’s changing the art market.”
Magnus, which was launched in 2016, is already off to an impressive start. According to Resch, users have already uploaded more than 10 million images. The app is also reported to work in over 20,000 galleries.
Interested? Magnus is free and available on both Android and Apple devices.