Washington D.C-based band Bluebrain are creating their most recent album as a location-aware iPhone app. Called "The National Mall," the album/app will play music from the album-really more what the band calls "melodic phrases" than songs-which will change up based on where the user is walking along D.C.'s National Mall. The songs are synched to a virtual map, so that listeners taking different routes through the landmark will hear the songs in different order. It's planned for release later this Spring for the iPhone, followed by Android and iPad platforms. This is the first in a series of location-aware music works the band has planned. The next will be designed for Prospect Park in Brooklyn this summer, followed by another for California's Pacific Coast Highway.
Music remixing apps are becoming a commodity, but Shapemix for the iPad is different in that it blends the more advanced features of a mixing board with a far easier to user interface for the amateur to navigate. Most of the simpler remixing apps gain their simplicity by dumbing down the capabilities. Shapemix separates the elements of each song in a way that lets users mix any combination of about 100 tracks included in the app. Songs can be shared via existing social networks and via the company's site. The songs at launch are rather generic, but the company is talking with developers to included licensed music going forward. The first on board is Downtown Music Publishing, and music from the deal will be released in the coming weeks.
The MyStream app aims to let users share music yet avoid licensing payments. The free app lets users create a playlist, which can be shared with any other user that also has the app. The kicker is that other users can only listen to the song or playlist if the person who created it is also streaming it at the same time, and all listeners must be connected via the same WiFi network (meaning they're pretty much in the same room or building). Otherwise other users can only listen to 30-second samples. If they like what they hear, they can buy the song via one-click access to iTunes. We're not sure exactly how this works on the back end, because if it involved any copying of songs there will likely be some legal issues forthcoming, and it sounds suspiciously like it could be considered a public performance. So we'll keep an eye out as this develops.