Bjork Hopes Pirates Crack Her New Music App, But Perhaps She Should Have Made It More Widely Available

from the why-wait? dept

Apparently, famed Icelandic singer Bjork's latest album was released only as an app -- and only for Apple's iOS platform (iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch), meaning anyone who wants to get the music in another format is out of luck... unless they get it through unauthorized means. In response to some of the criticism, Bjork has now said that she assumes those who want the music on other platforms will "pirate" it:
“I’m not supposed to say this, probably,” she told Drowned in Sound, “but I’m trusting that the pirates out there won’t tie their hands behind their back.”
Two thoughts on this:
  1. At least she doesn't seem upset or annoyed that people will get these tracks through unauthorized means -- in fact, she almost appears to be encouraging it.
  2. However, it seems like it's still a pretty short-sighted move. She clearly knows that other people will want the music who don't have access to the platform -- and while she calls them "pirates," most people would just call them fans, who aren't being well served by Bjork. So rather than "embracing" the unauthorized cracking of the iOS app, why not release the music in a format others can use so that they can pay for it if they want to?
It's always nice to see artists not freak out about unauthorized access, but in this case it seems like much of it was entirely avoidable.

Update: Someone in the comments claims that the album will be released in a bunch of different formats. That's not what the original article claimed, and I'm at a loss as to what people are complaining about if it will be released in a variety of formats.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:44am

    Supporting "piracy"?

    What's the spread on the number of weeks it takes for someone to get sued for doing exactly what Bjork "told" them to do?

    I honestly can't see what anyone involved gets out of this, even any "exclusive content" kudos for Apple would seem a bit limited by such a draconian approach to it that's literally begging to be ripped off.

     

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  2.  
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    PaulT (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:48am

    Another example of the gulf between artists' understanding of their fans' needs and the understanding of the labels. The marketers think they're being clever, whereas Bjork knows her fans will just get it any way they can, and they're far more likely to pirate than buy an iPhone just to access the app... I think Bjork's reaction is really due to the fact that she's an artist first and a "star" second - she's not driven by blinding greed and so a few "lost sales" don't bother her as long as her music is enjoyed.

    The labels really have to understand that while placing restrictions might lead to an apparently spike in sales - be those regional, time or format restrictions - in reality all they're doing is providing a great incentive to pirate for those blocked by the restrictions. Sure, a specialised app is clever and a decent idea, but they have to service the rest of the market at the same time. Offering all to one and none to the other is short-sighted, even if there is some short term gain.

     

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  3.  
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    Wolfgang Senges (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 2:01am

    In terms of Bjork's approach to art I assume there indeed is reason to leave portation to fans.

    As well as being interested in getting fans involved in participating in art as much as possible by remixing, gaming etc, it takes this approach even step further. Fans are implicitly told to rework the code. And giving that every part in Bjork's art is part of the whole piece of art, fans are even participating in collaborating and evolving the technology part of it.

    It's straight forward and consistent. Love that. Just hoping that their fans are not just taking Android or whatevs in account, but also HTML5. Now THAT would be awesome.

     

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  4.  
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    mike allen (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 2:30am

    did Bjork actually agree to this or is it the label marketing team. My guess is the labal marketing team and Bjork's hands are tied by contract.

     

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  5.  
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    Mike, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 2:34am

    This article is factually inaccurate. Biophilia is a multimedia project which will be released through CD's, MP3 downloads, videos, live shows as well as iOS apps. I don't think they're making Android/Windows Phone versions of it but who really cares, I commend her for her pushing boundries in music publishing.

    Surprised there hasn't been a bit more fact checking on this!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biophilia_(album)

    The album is "partly recorded" on an iPad and, as well as a standard CD release,[7] will also be being released in the form of a series of apps.[8] Biophilia will be the world's "first app album" in collaboration with Apple.[9] Björk has described the project as a multimedia collection "encompassing music, apps, internet, installations, and live shows".[10] Material from the album will debut during a concert series to be held this summer at the Manchester International Festival.[4]

     

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  6.  
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    ThatAVGuy (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 3:29am

    Re:

    Thats what I was thinking - Wouldn't suprise me at all if this was the case.

     

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  7.  
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    TN, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 3:59am

    Re:

    agree

     

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  8.  
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    TN, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:01am

    Re:

    oops.. I mean, I agree with mike's guess.

     

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  9.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:08am

    Re:

    I added an update to the post, but I'm confused. The original article clearly states that it will only be released as an iOS offering, and if it's going to be released in so many other platforms, what were people complaining about that made Bjork make these statements.

     

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  10.  
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    Mike, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:18am

    Re: Re:

    That's not the way I read it: The original article is only pointing out that the iOS app wasn't ported to other mobile platforms, but states:

    Biophilia is a multi-media project comprising a studio album and an app featuring a game for each of the 10 new tracks, as well as a new website, custom-made musical instruments, live performances, and educational workshops.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:22am

    Re: Re:

    From the Wikipedia page.
    ""Biophilia" for iPad will include around ten separate apps, all housed within one "mother" app.[11] Each of the smaller apps will relate to a different track from the album, allowing people to explore and interact with the song's themes or even make a completely new version of them. It will also be an evolving entity that will grow as and when the album's release schedule dictates, with new elements added."

    It is an album release and an "experience" release. The issue might be the fact that the evolving portion of the release is limited strictly to iOS. While there will be a CD release, there will be a much more interesting and diverse experience available to people who have iOS driven items. While iThingys are prevalent, there is still exclusion of people who can not/do not own an iThingy. There are people who like the alternative programs not approved by the mothership, who will be denied access.

    This was an attempt at connecting with the fans... but only those fans who have iThingys still locked into the Apple approved world.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:48am

    Re:

    Who really cares? Björk fans, like me, who use android and would never consider an apple product?

    Oh and I'm sure some of the 550000 new Android owners per day are Björk fans, too. if I recall correctly that's 300000 more per day than iOS which makes me wonder why you would limit access to the app to a platform with less people, and therefore potentially less of your fans. But then again, she did it in collaboration with apple. I would assume they approached her and not the other way around.

    While the music may be available, the "experience" will not be available to me, and I am not going to buy an iOS device just to do so. Might be what apple is thinking.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:50am

    Re:

    Who really cares? Björk fans, like me, who use android and would never consider an apple product?

    Oh and I'm sure some of the 550000 new Android owners per day are Björk fans, too. if I recall correctly that's 300000 more per day than iOS which makes me wonder why you would limit access to the app to a platform with less people, and therefore potentially less of your fans. But then again, she did it in collaboration with apple. I would assume they approached her and not the other way around.

    While the music may be available, the "experience" will not be available to me, and I am not going to buy an iOS device just to do so. Might be what apple is thinking.

     

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  14.  
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    Nicedoggy, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 5:11am

    People apparently are complaining about a SOFTWARE(i.e. app) that will only be available to iOS(IOW: iPhone, iPad, only) and not to a variety of platforms.

    Not the music in specific the APP!

    Quote:
    Biophilia is a multi-media project comprising a studio album and an app featuring a game for each of the 10 new tracks, as well as a new website, custom-made musical instruments, live performances, and educational workshops.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 5:55am

    Re:

    Dedicated fans will want the full experience, not just the music.

     

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  16.  
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    Dan, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 6:07am

    app album?

    Honest to god, who the hell wants to listen to an album through an app only? Are these people retarded? So much for shuffling with other music, adding specific tracks to your favorite mix, etc. Dumb dumb dumb.

     

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  17.  
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    Nicedoggy, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 6:22am

    Re: app album?

    Quote:
    featuring a game for each of the 10 new tracks, as well as a new website, custom-made musical instruments, live performances, and educational workshops.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Nicedoggy, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 6:25am

    Re: Re:

    Exactly, that is why they are complaining about it, only being available on the iOS and not in other platforms like PC's, Android and so forth.

    At least that was why I understood from the original linked article. That they were talking about the software side of things and not only the music album per se.

     

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  19.  
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    Nicedoggy, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 6:28am

    Re: Re:

    Now one have to be really, really dedicated to go out and buy an iPhone or an iPad just to get that app now.

    Those probably are more likely to become creepy stalkers too.

     

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  20.  
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    mdmadph (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 6:43am

    "So rather than "embracing" the unauthorized cracking of the iOS app, why not release the music in a format others can use so that they can pay for it if they want to?"

    Because we wouldn't be talking about it.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Me either.

    The post, and this blog for that matter, is a sloppy "we promote and support music piracy" joke.

     

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  22.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 9:24am

    While it is remote, there is a possibility that Bjork is/was unaware that there exists no way to export the iThingy based things to other systems.

    Bjork is an artist, not a programmer.

    Bjork was shown some neat things it could do and liked it. They created this expansive experience that could grow and connect with the fans, and now Bjork has been confronted with the sad truth that not all of her fans can participate.

    To recap -

    The App is NOT the only way to get the music.

    (deep breath)

    The ONLY way to get the entire experience created to go with the music that will evolve is the iOS App.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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