The Album Post Now

International Festival Innovations Music Production and Composition 2015

S. Hewitt and A. Jansch


Following the advent of the MP3 format, legal online music stores, Youtube and other legal streaming services, the prioritisation and sale of the album has become significantly reduced. This has presented the artist with difficulty in both presenting their creative labour within the appropriate sonic context and placing their individual tracks within a great narrative. The perceived demise in the album has obviously also had financial implications. Seeking to view this as an opportunity rather than a loss, we propose new methods of packaging tracks together for both consumption and sale. After briefly considering current album and historical album-like objects, we momentarily reflect on technological impetus for these changes. In proposing a replacement for the traditional typical album we consider the possibilities presented free from the hardware and contextual limitations of the past. Choosing to take a particular focus on the use of mobile devices for consumption, we consider the opportunities proposed by an app-aware, sensor-laden and feature-rich album object playback device with data connectivity, the smart phone/tablet. In doing so, we aspire to consider new contexts in which audio may be presented for consumption and the possible new listening experiences to be offered to the user. Additionally, we also aim to identify commercial opportunities and possibilities for content creators to enhance the musical object in playback and enrich supporting materials. Having considered a number of possible new album types we present early experimental implementations, observational outcomes and propose future refinements.