The news that Bjork is planning a mobile app built around each song off her upcoming album reminded me of the fact that, for some bizarre reason, we don't have multiple examples of mobile apps as enhanced albums featuring music bundled with related media assets.
We have all sorts of interesting games and other products related to music and plenty of apps that aggregate music, but the most obvious product of all, the enhanced record album as mobile app, still isn't a mundane fact of our musical lives.
While the work of 955 Dreams suggests the potential for album releases as iPad apps, they aren't albums, they're an iPad version of encyclopedic DVDs released in the 20th Century. will.i.apps got a lot of attention for a mobile app built around a music video one could explore in 360 degrees but it wasn't an album and they don't seem to be following through with additional apps.
iTunes is loaded with music apps but they're either the kind of thing a mobile developer would create or an interesting artist as developer project. And now Bjork is releasing a mobile app for every song on Biophilia with games and animation and lyrics and an academic essay but that's a Bjork art project, not an album in app form.
I'm truly baffled by this state of affairs. It's as if record labels can only imagine a digital album as a bundle of songs with pdf's attached. For the life of me I do not understand why we haven't seen a whole slew of enhanced albums in mobile app form that take advantage of all those music videos, promo pics and reviews that often come out before the actual album is released. It's not like there's not plenty of content to bundle with the songs.
I could say the hackneyed insults people like to say about major labels and their supposed lack of creativity but that doesn't let big indies off the hook. And that doesn't let rich artists with leverage off the hook either.
The one reasonable explanation I can come up with is the fact that mobile app pricing tends to range from free to a few bucks. That's a problem for releasing an album as an app but a major label should be able to find sponsors for an app that costs a few bucks to make up the difference. However, for enhanced album apps that bundle signficant related content, I believe there's plenty of potential to explore higher price points. So what's going on here?
I'm truly baffled and I'd really like to hear the thoughts of Hypebot readers on the situation. Why do you think we're not seeing albums in mobile app form? Do you know of obvious or obscure examples I'm missing? Is it just more crazy talk from Clyde? I'm all ears.