By Eliot Van Buskirk of Evolver.fm.
By now, youâre almost certainly familiar with the idea, if not the term, âfreemium.â Spotify, with its free and premium versions, brought the concept to music in a way that took its competition by storm.
An artist app for the LA rock outfit Warren Charles takes a new approach to the freemium concept by offering up the bandâs entire album, for free, in a nicely-designed âanalogâ tape player, a photo hunt game, liner notes/artwork, a âhand paintedâ player for watching the bands videos, web links, an artist biography, and other goodies.
For now, two additions here put the âmiumâ in âfreemium,â for $2.
âThe additional band content is the songs that play (you donât have to be connected to the internet) while you engage with the three extra games, and there is a sound bite from the bandâs previous album in the wedding game,â explained Josh Feldman of 504 Apps, formerly of Universal Music Group and TuneWiki. âWe also plan to add more content such as new photos and exclusive tracks to the paid version in a free update.â
This is an interesting model for music: Sure, stream the album for free. Youâre probably going to do that anyway, if youâre a fan of the band, on YouTube or Spotify. This app acknowledges that by including the album â yes, the whole album.
But if you want access to the extra games, youâll need to upgrade to the full version or earn enough âWCnotesâ (image to the left) which are the appâs own currency, to activate them. Interestingly, these games can be played offline, i.e. without an internet connection.
Warren Charles: Head in the Clouds (More Than Music), available on iOS for free or $2, probably wonât attract too many new fans, because you already need to be one of those in order to have any interest in an artist app, by their very nature.
But for casual or active fans, it looks promising, with liner notes that are fun to read, a nice design that mirrors the album cover (above), and uncut versions of every song on the album. And the app also offers something you canât find on bit torrent, YouTube, or Spotify, in the form of these additional games, with their offline playback mode.
Itâs an interesting model, to give the music streams away and try to recoup through videogames, local playback, and other extras, and we donât think weâve seen the last of it by any means.