Interactive Music Application Format

8 Dec 2013

This study contributes to knowledge by examining a new model for recorded music to determine the viability and potential uptake of a release format that invites user participation.

The Music industry media has suggested the idea of an ‘interactive album’ could help save the recording music industry (Buskirk, 2009) but has provided little evidence as to how exactly this might work.

The purpose of this proof of concept was to design and create a new interactive music release format that is tested on a sample of users to understand what factors might be critical to audience engagement. The idea for an interactive music release format proposes that instead of releasing a song on a CD or as an MP3, the artist arranges a song for a multi–track application (like a mobile app). This app then allows the audience to create their own versions of the song. This will allow the audience to co-create with musicians and participate instead of passively consuming music.

In order to achieve this purpose the study firstly identifies the principles that have emerged through the remix traditions of dub, electronic and hip-hop genres and, secondly, examines whether audiences will interact with these principles. Finally, the study investigates the potential implications this new mode of production might have for artists.

The results of this study show that the audiences tested would interact with applications that implement remix principles as part of a music listening tool. It also showed that 95% of participants enjoyed using the app. Participants also valued this format and would pay an average of $2.55 for an application containing one track or single.

The thesis argues that recorded formats of music are emerging into fluid forms and that future music products could include participation as a basis. It calls for further studies into effects on artists and music production as well as cultural business models based on participation.