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Björk releases first "app album"

When it comes to thinking different, Icelandic musician Björk leads the pack. She's just come out with what she refers to as the world's first "app album" consisting of an iPad and iPhone app featuring ten songs, each of which has an accompanying interactive app of its own.

The app, titled "Biophilia," is free to download. The song apps are in-app purchases at $1.99 each, although the first song on the album, "Cosmogony", is free. Two more songs -- "Crystalline" and "Virus" -- have been released so far.

Richard McManus, writing for ReadWriteWeb, commented that "what impresses me about this album is her inventiveness in coming up with a brand new album format - the 'app album.' Plus she finds a new way to make money from her music." Biophilia opens with an introduction narrated by none other than David Attenborough (see video below) in which he explains the theme of fusing nature, music, and technology to "listen, learn, and create."

As an example of the individual song apps, Crystalline has you navigating through space collecting crystals with the song as accompaniment. Collect the crystals in the requested order (by bumping into them as you fly through tunnels) to unlock new tunnels, increasing replay value. You can also view a gallery of your crystals and share them with friends.

Virus includes an instrument mode, where tapping on images creates sounds from different instruments, so you're creating your own song from the same instruments Björk used -- and many of the sounds were created on the iPad. You unlock "instrument mode" by first playing the game: allowing microscopic invaders to effect neighboring cells, turing them into the instruments you eventually get to play.

Will other musicians follow Björk's lead and create their own app albums? It depends on both the success of Biophilia and the creative chops of those other musicians. Are you ready for app albums? Which artist would you like to see create an app album? Let us know in the comments.

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