As part of a pioneering research project, Piano Ombre, the first chart-eligible album release of Anglo-French pop group François and the Atlas Mountains, was distributed on CD, vinyl LP, digital download – and as an album app for iOS devices.
Supported by Nesta's Digital R&D Funds for the Arts, the project is as a test case for music consumers, artists and record companies, to investigate 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.
The research was supported by music and content agency Script and app developers Agency Mobile.
Rob Toulson, Professor of Creative Industries: Commercial Music at the University of Westminster, was previously Director of the Cultures of the Digital Economy (CoDE), that has now evolved into StoryLab. Rob is a research leader in the field of commercial music and he has collaborated with many international organisations in the music industry.