The Interactive Album App
Transforming Digital Music
In 2014, Senior Lecturer in Music Technology Justin Paterson was awarded funding in collaboration with Dr. Rob Toulson from Anglia Ruskin University, Director of its Cultures of the Digital Economy (CoDE) research institute. The research is funded through the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) via its 'Digital Transformations' theme to a total value of £80,000.
The project investigates the app as a potential album-release format of the future in an initiative to lure the consumer away from the ‘single track download’ mentality. Whilst a number of music app releases have exploited playfulness and a degree of interactivity for the user, past releases were not chart-eligible and the music itself is yet to be wholly at the core of this potential format.
The app currently under development is different. In addition to incorporating extended media content and social networking, most importantly, a system for interactive playback is included, either machine-controlled or user-influenced. This allows a dynamic listening experience that might cross genres within a given track or offer the impression of a unique live performance, with the aim of forging new user experiences and opening a number of artistic and commercial opportunities for the future.
The team includes industrial support from Mandy Parnell (Bjork, Paul McCartney and Snoop Dogg) and Jonathan Shakhovskoy (U2, Amy Winehouse and Rod Stewart) and the music artist 'Daisy and The Dark'.
Task-specific research assistants at both institutions support the work – Tim Webster and Dr. Sebastian Lexer. UWL postgraduate students, both past and present have also been given the opportunity to contribute towards this work, thus demonstrating the real world cross-pollination of research within LCM.
The project is designed to amplify the current NESTA-funded work of CoDE and collaborator Script Ltd, which focuses on identifying and evaluating new modes of engagement between popular artists and audiences.
AHRC funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. For further information on the AHRC, please go to www.ahrc.ac.uk.