After you’ve read this post you’ll know that it’s not all doom and gloom for the music industry.

How do I know?

Because I’ve seen what panic in the face of online piracy can create… and it’s awesome!

Something For the Soul

Google Les Paul

Like any medium, music often carries a story within its lyrics, including characters, locations and twists and turns along the way. They can be factual, fictional, emotional or pretty abstract indeed.

Don’t Just Listen… Experience

The traditional music industry is in a constant state of disruption… we know this already. It’s boring.

But that doesn’t mean experiencing music has to be.

The last few years has seen a huge uptake in interactive music experiences that take you much deeper into the artistic vision of the musician.

I couldn’t help but look back over some Bellyfeel’s old work with I Am Kloot specifically the music video system for ‘Ferris Wheels’. Kloot fans insterted their own footage and the system published their video versions to the world.

Or the recent example from Coldplay, and their animated ‘choose your own adventure’ style video for “Ink”. Here you can enjoy the song while deciding the different paths the main character takes to find the woman he loves.

It’s Not Just Interactive Y’Know

True enough, Beck’s idea of originality, was to release the sheet music to his album ‘Song Reader’ – if a fan wanted to hear the album, they would have to play it themselves and contribute their own versions.

Although, this was later recorded, Beck himself only performed one track, the rest were interpretations from other well-known artists.

And who could forget the incredible decision by Wu-Tang Clan to create one single copy of ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’ before touring it around (high security) museums for fans to listen to it, before finally selling it for $5million.

Of course, sometimes single user experiences still aren’t enough… sometimes you just have to go down the Transmedia route…

The Pine Tree That Cared

One of the best examples of Transmedia in the music biz I know of, has to be “The Story of Pines” created and performed by Alison Sudol in 2012.

It’s a great example of raw emotion in art, good storytelling, deep messages and even some pretty dam good folk music, if I may say so myself.

The whole project is just really cool. Initially planned as a single album, Sudol realised that there wasn’t enough time in one album to detail the whole story through songs alone.

In addition, Sudol also wrote an e-book, with interactive animations and finally an animated short-film of the same name.

Both include snippets of songs from the album and, in their own way, enhance the story of ‘Pine’ (the only tree left alive after deforestation) and ‘Bird’, (Pine’s soft and caring companion)… it’s pretty heart warming.

So how do Demons, Smartphones and Heavy Metal Play Into it?

Well you had to ask…

Heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold recently created a fantastically difficult mobile game called ‘Hail to The King: Deathbat’.

The game is a 3rd person RGP that throws you into the gothic, hell-like world, synonymous with the band. In addition to fighting monsters, you can explore the world and level up as you make your way through the level-based narrative.

It took them two and a half years to develop and as one would expect, the game houses music from the band, both classic and original tracks and is also loosely tied-in to their 2013 studio album ‘Hail To The King’.

Yes, an interactive music video would have been quicker, but I doubt the fan response would have been half as positive!

Skip to the Next Track

It’s exciting to think about the future of the music industry (at least from a user perspective) as more and more bands are coming up with innovative ways to reach their fans.

I’m still waiting to see the album that is written, recorded and distributed while a band is already on tour; documenting experiences of the tour with new, daily songs, freely uploaded each day with additional social media updates and multi-media assets.

Somebody do it! (And let me know when you do…)

Do you have a favourite Transmedia/ Music Storyworld?

Or a completely brilliant music experience I haven’t mentioned here?

Let me know in the comments!


PS – I wanted to mention the Nine Inch Nails ARG “Year Zero” (2007) produced by 42 Entertainment… but simply didn’t have the space. It’s an awesome case study and has been well documented – you should absolutely check it out.


Lee Robinson
About the author

23yr old film nerd, comic book and video game geek and all round Transmedia Fanatic…Oh, and I also have a 1st degree in Media, Writing and Production. More here...

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