Published: 26 March 2014 at 11:44
Anglia Ruskin experts work on new release by François and the Atlas Mountains
Anglo-French pop group François and the Atlas Mountains are taking part in a pioneering research project as their new album, Piano Ombre, is released on CD, vinyl LP, digital download – and as an ‘album app’ for iOS devices.
The innovative app, which features high-quality versions of the album tracks together with 24 exclusive bonus tracks, artwork, song lyrics and producer credits, forms the basis of a project examining the app as a future standard album release format, perhaps even the future of the album itself.
Supported by Nesta’s Digital R&D Fund for the Arts, the research is being carried out by Anglia Ruskin University’s Cultures of the Digital Economy (CoDE) Research Institute (www.anglia.ac.uk/code), along with music and content agency Script (www.script.fm) and app developers Agency Mobile.
CoDE is using the Piano Ombre app – the first chart-eligible album app in the world – as a test case for music consumers, artists and record companies, examining the user experience, the creative potential afforded to the artist and the overall economics of releasing an album as an app.
While the cost of app development is potentially prohibitive for smaller artists and labels, this project hopes to establish a framework that can be used in future to make releasing album apps affordable for all music artists.
Dr Rob Toulson, Director of the CoDE Research Institute at Anglia Ruskin, said:
Script founder Jonathan Shakhovskoy said:
Brimming with creativity and a charming, handmade aesthetic, the app expands on the physical-format album artwork with animation created by François Marry.
While listening to each song on the album itself, users can browse through sleeve notes, lyrics (in French and English) and chords. The app does not just house static content, however. Users can access constantly updated information such as the tour dates (with the option to buy tickets), as well as the band’s photo blog and François’s sketches and journal.
By taking a picture using the ‘Sun Tracker’ feature and then sharing it via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or email, users can unlock and listen to one of the 24 exclusive bonus tracks for an hour at a time.
The app is available now via the Apple App Store. Users can buy the Premium app with the whole album included for £7.99. The Lite version, costing £1.99, has all the same features without the album tracks, which are available to purchase individually.