In the News: Music Ally Reviews Stretch Music by Spectrum

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The Spectrum team was thrilled to hear that MusicAlly, one of the most respected music industry pubs in the UK, wanted to profile Stretch Music app:

 

THE ALBUM IS DEAD. RIP.

Unless, of course, you’re Adele or Taylor Swift or Ed Sheeran or any of the thousands of acts who sold $5.8bn worth of physical music products globally last year according to the IFPI.

That said, the album is still waiting to be convincingly re-energised for the digital age (no, SACD or Mastered For iTunes is not enough). The arrival of mass-marketing legal downloading over a decade ago (driven by iTunes) saw the album being unbundled and sold in slivers for the first time.

Today the importance of playlists to Spotify, Deezer and Apple Music are all helping push the streaming focus around tracks, reinforcing what iTunes did but within a different payment model.

Beyoncé’s most recent releases (BEYONCÉ and Lemonade) were presented as visual albums, where the accompanying videos for each track were deemed as central to the artistic vision of the project as the actual recordings themselves.

Kanye West has also treated the release of The Life Of Pablo as a fluid “album”, chopping and changing the running order in the weeks after “release”. These, however, are the exceptions rather than the rule.

While nowhere on the same scale as these acts – and certainly not with a stake in Tidal big enough to offer it as an exclusive – jazz musician Christian Scott is pulling together existing concepts in digital music to try and breathe new life into what an album is and what it can be.

These include the album-as-app as deployed by acts like Björk and Soulwax as well as the interactive and remixable album as illustrated by short-lived players such as MXP4 and just about every act who has ever released the stems from their albums.

Stretch Music is both a traditional album and an interactive app. The app comes with the full album installed and the tabs allow the user to manipulate the different stems for each instrument as the tracks play, lowering or increasing the volume, silencing instruments, flipping the audio between left and right speakers and so on. It also has a tab with the sheet music and score so musicians can play along.

You can read the full profile of Stretch Music, Christian Scott and Spectrum Interactive here.