by Erik Loehfelm,

Remember buying a vinyl record or even a CD, ripping off the plastic and having an immediate glimpse into the back-story of the music project… all while holding something in the palm of your hands?

With a move to streaming music and digital downloads, we’ve lost some of the connection and back-story we used to get from vinyl and CD albums. It seems like the only time we can really connect with an artist these days is by going to a concert or through social media – and even those methods seem impersonal and often contrived.

The good news is, artists and music labels are now beginning to embrace mobile technology to develop powerful new ways to connect with their fans that will even surpass the original experience of the album cover.

To that end, Universal Mind has partnered with Sony Music, Legacy Recordings and Experience Hendrix, LLC to create Jimi Hendrix – The Complete Experience, the first of many immersive digital experiences to come for the music industry and beyond. This particular app showcases pivotal moments in Jimi’s life and career, streams his music that revolutionized the world and offers an interactive approach to story-telling unlike anything we have seen before. (Some are even calling it an “appumentary”)

Our own back-story around this app started with a survey of the music space and seeing what kinds of tools are being employed to connect artists and fans. We noticed that with streaming music and digital downloads, the artist-fan connection had devolved into a relationship that was almost entirely transactional – the experiential piece was missing. Pay $0.99 and get a track – and then you’re done. It was clear that having some other vehicle in this space to drive a connection and a relationship was ripe for the picking.

We built out our own way to do this, starting at the drawing board (literally) with hundreds of sketches — talking through page navigation, incorporating a “swiping” motion from page to page and chapter to chapter – really setting out to create a platform that would resemble something like a digital coffee table book… but with deeper interaction.

By creating digital immersive tools in this landscape, we are fostering an environment that allows artists to have more than just a transactional relationship with their fans. Artists can now curate, share and express themselves to their fans in a way that was never possible before.

We’re already seeing quite a bit of momentum around this approach. For example, Pink Floyd and Sting both released apps to the AppStore this week. Sting said in a recent interview with Billboard Magazine:

“I think the app is the new model. People are going to stop buying CDs. People are going to stop selling and making them, so I am looking for different ways to get music to people, and the application at the moment seems to be the favorite.”

We anticipate that as more artists and labels embrace this new medium, we’ll see an increase in digital music downloads and an explosion in new types of artist content, maybe even a new fan club paradigm with advanced and/or exclusive access to media or artist driven content. We look forward to adding these types of rich features in the future that allow increasingly deeper interaction between artists and fans.