The concept of music albums is changing for good. Offering fans a multimedia experience makes the job of pirates a lot harder, and that’s obviously appealing from a commercial point of view. Yet, there’s no denying that artists are naturally inclined to try new technologies out, and see in which ways new software and hardware can give fans a more vivid representation of these emotions and ideas that lie at the heart of the most transcendental artistic works. The Smashing Pumpkins’ latest album might as well do.
Named “Oceania”, it’s already been defined as a “full online experience” by Billy Corgan, the band’s charismatic leader. He’s not giving away a lot of details at this time, but he will break the silence soon enough – he’s going to make a big announcement at this year’s South By Southwest conference. From what he’s already said, it can be gathered that the album will take social interactions and fan engagement to the limit, and that it’s tracks might not be sold separately on iTunes. Corgan’s publicist has hinted at that when she said that “The key is that when we release the record, we’re not going to release a single viral video. You’re going to take the record and have a full online experience with it.”
Corgan is no stranger to experimentation. In 2009, he embarked on a project called “Teagarden by Kaledoiscope”, a 44-track album that was going to be made freely available on the Internet for everybody to download.
The Smashing Pumpkins’ latest project brings to mind Bjork’s “Biophilia”, which has gone down in history as the first “app album” ever. We’ll see how Corgan’s brainchild compares to that when he speaks at SXSW. His session is scheduled for the 12th of March.