Despite the rise of music streaming, the experience of immersing oneself in the artwork and lyrics of old school albums is alive again, as sales of vinyl records and CDs have outpaced digital downloads for the first time since 2011. Now, the latest album from Amsterdam-based Necessary Explosion evolves this experience through augmented reality.
While playing the 11-track album, SOS, on their record players, listeners can view augmented reality sculptures spin on top of the record through an iOS app.
Alas, while physical records are making a comeback, streaming music services remain king of the music distribution hill and continue to drive the music industry's growth. As such, the AR experience is also available for those who opt to listen to the album via Spotify, Apple Music, or other platforms. Listeners can simply select a flat surface on which to anchor the 3D content, and the psychedelic sculptures spin as if they were on a turntable.
The experience is the brainchild of the Department of New Realities (DPTNR) within the advertising agency W+K Amsterdam. The app uses audio recognition to match songs with visuals, and every song has its own 3D content. To build the AR experience, DPTNR used its proprietary platform, LAVA, to merge music and 3D content.
In recent months, augmented reality has been playing a big part in the promotion of new music, but the real excitement comes in how the technology can enhance the music listening experience.
Between the Magic Leap app Tónandi from Sigur Ros, which turns the band's music into an interactive visual journey, to AR Lyrics, an iPhone app that displays lyrics for songs it hears like a futuristic Shazam, augmented reality is increasingly giving musicians the opportunity to make their work truly immersive.