Live from Cannes, a new guest post from the head of remix format company MXP4, who notably just spoke on MidemNet’s mobile apps panel… As Serviant suggests, “why not engage fans by encouraging more remixes (in the album or single app itself) and then sell those remixes?”

With the advent of online gaming, the gaming industry successfully created a new user experience that in turn reinvented the industry. With the 3D-movie audience experience, the film industry is similarly seeing new life. What user experience can the music industry introduce? While audio streaming and digital downloads are healthy, they’re not yet creating the excitement that drives new levels of fan engagement.

The discussion of increasing fan engagement and revenues generally focuses on the distribution and selling of digital tracks. But what about the album experience? No, I’m not talking about simply bundling songs. I’m talking about how we used to buy an LP to sit and engage with the music. Everything about a well-produced album contributed more toward an immersive experience than one single track could provide – from the cover art to the collection of related songs to the liner notes that you read while listening the music. It was a pretty good business.

But why not go further? By breaking the mindset of an album as simply a bundle of songs, we can create an entirely new album format that provides a far more immersive, engaging and creative experience than fans ever had with an analog LP or a digital single.

For example, with today’s technology, an album can bundle various types of artwork, videos, liner notes and songs. If we take it to the next level and treat these albums as live apps instead of just static files, we can add even more to the user experience – we can update them to provide the latest concert dates, remixes and so on. Even the actual music style can be personalized to the listener – so the electronica fan and acoustic fan can buy the same album, but listen to the music style that is more in line with their respective tastes.

More than just generating album sales, album app technology can generate post-album sales. The mashup and remix movements have already demonstrated that today’s consumer loves to engage with artists by taking their music and creating new versions for themselves and their friends. So why not engage fans by encouraging more remixes (in the album or single app itself) and then sell those remixes?

With the introduction of the album app, you are offered an immersive experience completely impossible with an analog LP. Just think, when the next hot band comes out, you purchase their album app for your home entertainment system or mobile device. You can then listen to music according to your taste, watch videos, read liner notes, get concert updates, send mashups to your friends and get new versions of songs. It’s a far more engaging experience than the analog LP could ever provide.

These are just a few ideas of how the music industry can create a new user experience to reinvent the industry and some examples of how the immersive experience of an album – along with the premium pricing power that goes with – can help the recording industry become stronger than ever. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.

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  1. I like to think of it as the booklet that came inside CDs that had photos, merch advertising, and song lyrics. The big difference here would be that the app would continually update all of those sections with new content.
    This idea could really take flight quickly, especially once artists have a service that compiles this for them. A good business idea there.

  2. As evidenced by the success of deluxe album versions, many fans want and are willing to pay more for a richer music experience and connection to the artists they love.
    Like many other industries, the recorded music industry must innovate its way out of the current situation if it is to prevail. I think that album apps are an innovative idea, and a fresh detour from the age-old transactional approaches to at seek to sell more tracks.
    By creating more value in the music itself it can help to pave the way for additional revenue opportunities for artists and other related parties. In short, a relationship between fans and artists has value beyond a simple MP3 file, value that cannot be replicated by current peer to peer networks.
    As the industry experiments with new innovative methods, we will watch album apps with interest.

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