App to the Future! Bjork and Soulwax kickstart a new dawn.

Once upon a time there was a very simple method of releasing a piece of music.  The only consumer decision was the old-fashioned dilemma of  what and who?  Not how, why or where!  Technology, piracy and affordability has given rise to the complexities of choice in an over saturated market.  With music companies getting increasingly desperate in their attempts to market their dwindling artist fold and consumers having increasing power is it any wonder that the financial soothsayers are sounding the death knell for the mainstream music labels.

Since the explosion of web 2.0 and digital there has been a flurry of false – dawns for the industry, including the increasingly popular but ultimate short-comings of downloads and streaming.  For all the fanfare of these two embedded activities there is still a massive shortfall in revenue and a feeling of opportunity missed.  Technology was too far ahead of the game and the music business has been flailing behind ever since!

Enter the age of the app.  Feverishly popular and singularly controllable it could be the music businesses saving grace.  And get this, people are even prepared to pay for the product!   Even though apps have been around for a few years its only in the last 12 months that artists and their record labels are starting to realise the potential.  Even so, a quick scan through the hundreds of artist apps reveal very few of any discernible value , most of them are just an extension of the artist website.  Of course apps are designed, primarily, as advertising tools, but the sheer lack of creativity and cultural value is startling, so much that most of them have become instantly disposable.  Yet their capacity for invention and value is mind-blowing, offering the user a unique portal into a myriad of ideas.  But only if the artist uses the technology to its full capacity.

Bjork and Soulwax are soon to release very different apps,but both in tune with the ideals of multi-platform digi-tainment.  Bjork’s, ‘Biophillia will comprise of  ten apps under one mother app, released at separate times, all representing different themes.  These apps, with titles including; ‘Virus, ‘Moon’ and ‘Solstice’ will allow the user to explore and interact with the songs different components, even adding their own elements.   They”ll be visually, sonically and conceptually specifically designed for the iPad, as ‘Biophillia’ was partly recorded on the Apple tablet.                          

Belgian duo Soulwax have just released an epic mash-up, 24 one hour mixes that all represent a different genre of music, consisting of different albums.  Visually all the album’s covers, that have been used in the mix,  have been recreated in virtual time, complementing the pro-mash-up that we all come to expect from the innovative brothers.  The project took over 2 years to design and is available free to download, the use of so many samples would have made it a litigative minefield.  A new show will be added every week, for the next few months.

Both apps highlight the vision of the artist and their collaboration with developers and designers, maximizing the creative capacity of digital technology for the enjoyment of the user, as well as satisfying their artistic license for evolving and surprising.  Hopefully it will kick-start the industries creative thinking and slow down the proliferation of apps cynically and singularly designed for promotion.  

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