Tablet computers, especially the iPad, have taken off with consumers and opened up new possibilities for digital publishing in the form of apps designed for the unique interactive capabilities of tablets. This has resulted in new forms of content apps creating the potential for revisioning the record album in the digital age. Though some digital publishers simply recreate old experiences or shovel content into apps like they shoveled it onto the web, 955 Dreams has begun to demonstrate the possibilities for music-centered apps, whether or not one wants to consider them a new form of record album.
955 Dreams recently released its second iPad app, On the way to Woodstock, a follow-up to The History of Jazz. Both apps were built expressly for the iPad and contain an almost excessive amount of content including 45 hours of video each.
The History of Jazz - An Interactive Timeline
The History of Jazz uses a timeline to organize the content which features videos of music. Additional music can be sampled and then purchased through iTunes. Such features as bios and screensavers are also available.
On the way to Woodstock employs a similar timeline and videos but places the singular event in historical context. In both apps, video can be streamed to Apple TV and the audio from the videos can be streamed to Hi-Fi speakers. Both are priced at $9.99 and are delivered via iTunes.
On the way to Woodstock - The Story of a Generation
Ryan Kim has suggested the possibility that such apps can "resurrect the album" but these two products seem more like DVD's with increased interactivity via touchscreens then expanded albums. For some people this experience is quite thrilling but I immediately want more interaction along the lines of a game that keeps me occupied or a keyboard that lets me play along.
In an extended interview with the folks at 955 Dreams on how the apps were built, Robert Scoble calls 955 Dreams his "favorite mobile company." While I'm not as excited as some, these apps have gotten great reviews and serve as well-designed examples of the possibilities ahead as tablets become important home entertainment devices.