Company News · September 24, 2009

The New Album Experience in the Digital Age

By mdecesare

I blogged a few weeks ago about the idea of additional content being added to digital albums and how the record labels were working on a deal with Apple to make it happen. Well, if you have a Blackberry you don’t have to wait any more.
In a collaborative effort with the band U2, Research in Motion announced a new application for Blackberry smartphones that enriches the album listening experience on a digital platform. The U2 Mobile Album, which was released September 15th, allows for expanded content and an interactive component for the band’s latest release, No Line On The Horizon.
In addition to being able to hear samples of the music, U2 fans can utilize a wide array of features including music videos, photos from the road and in the studio, lyrics, U2 news feeds and even tour information right down to a map of the venue. There is also the ability to purchase individual songs or the entire album right from the Blackberry. RIM also plans to roll out part two of the application, which will allow users to interact with other fans around the globe, soon.
This is all great news for digital music fans, but perhaps what makes it even better is that the application can be downloaded for free from the Blackberry site. Finally, someone in the world of digital music is being sensitive to the economic needs of music consumers. Not sure who gets the kudos for that– the band or Blackberry, so we’ll just thank ’em all.
If they set out to replace what’s missing in digital from CDs and vinyl, RIM has certainly made progress towards that goal. Since the application is so interactive, the digital experience is actually better than the still photos you would otherwise have had in the sleeve. The U2 Mobile Album addresses a key weakness in the digital album platform.
This new application is a sure sign of what’s to come for music listening, and since U2 and Blackberry have set the bar high (for free!) it is a tough act to follow–though others are sure to try. And that’s good news for the consumer.

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