Photo: The Thinglink page created for Gorillaz’ 10th anniversary
Back in the days of vinyl, albums were sold on display racks at record stores. To drive the sale, record labels invested in eye-popping photography, illustration and art. There were some epic covers, too. I remember when the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper was released in 1968, the album cover was as a big story as the music, and it won a Grammy for Best Album Art.
While the Recording Academy has continued to award a Grammy for Album Cover Art, the mystique around album covers has diminished considerably due to the ever shrinking real estate available to them; the smaller CD format that was introduced in the 1980s followed by the 200 x 200 pixel album art image for digital music sales.
When ThingLink came onto the music scene earlier this year, we noticed very strong fan engagement with interactive album covers issued by the 4 major label groups and indies. Maybe it was the discovery aspect of hovering an image to find fun content, but one thing was for sure: ThingLink was catching on.
ThingLink interactive album covers have been released by Simple Plan, Evanescence, Blink182, Pink Floyd, Umphrey’s McGee, Bruno Mars, Christina Perri, and the list goes on. Music publishers and bloggers NME and The Guardian (UK) have used ThingLink as well.
ThingLink lets artists transform album art into a discovery platform which enable fans to connect directly with music and video players, websites, fan sites, social touch points and points of sale.
Our wide array of rich media tags makes it easy to add inside any image, sound and video players from SoundCloud, Qwips, YouTube and Vimeo. Moreover, you can buy tags for iTunes, Amazon, BestBuy and Topspin, subscription tags for Mailchimp, Fanbridge, and much more.
You can even create your own branded tag for ThingLink images using our custom smart apps environment.
Distributing, sharing ThingLink images across web, social and fan networks is easy. Post a link to Facebook, Twitter and email; distribute an image embed code to bloggers (just like a YouTube embed code), set up an interactive ad campaign, or send an image link via email. Now image truly is a platform all of its own.
I’m often asked to compare the rise of interactive images to something. When I look at MTV, it was to television what ThingLink is to images. Images are becoming interactive and creativity is boundless, so we are seeing some terrific implementations by digital marketers and artists.
Some say we might never see album covers as iconic as “Abbey Road” again. Perhaps. But imagine how the Beatles might have made Sgt. Pepper interactive, with links to the history of the record, video and images of the Fab Four; adding deeper discovery and storytelling to one of the greatest moments in music history.