Björk, Lady Gaga and Gwilym Gold have all had a crack at the “album as app” concept, but it’s not really caught fire beyond that – proving to be something that is truly fascinating at the conceptual level but less so at, well, the financial level. “Hey, it’s art!” cry its supporters as frowning accountants point to a P&L line. The eternal art/commerce dichotomy. Or something. Anyway, two artists are having a new crack at the form. Skrillex is teasing his new album with the Alien Ride app (for iOS and Android) that might actually be his new album, Recess. It contains “a folder of 11 hidden objects” and a countdown that started yesterday evening. It is presented like a space battle arcade game and you have to shoot up asteroids to unlock the first track. Meanwhile, Super Furry Animals lead singer Gruff Rhys has a tie-in app (and book and film) for his American Interior album (a not-an-concept-album album about John Evans, an 18th century explorer). It will be built around 100 “packets” of content – songs, spoken word, films, animation etc. Also of note is that he and his partner Catryn Ramasut want to cut out established digital retailers for a lot of the project. “What we’re trying to do with the website is to change consumer habits and get people to buy directly from us, creating our distribution channel,” she said. “Everyone knows iTunes and Amazon dominate the market, but for independent filmmaker sand musicians, it’s imperative that people start buying from us directly, so they don’t lose that 30% off to iTunes and Amazon, and then their distributor, so you’re only left with 45% of what you could have made from the sale.”

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