Scottish DJ, producer, and recording artist Calvin Harris and his people released an intriguing new app today that includes his entire album, for free, but there’s a catch. You can only hear it if you keep dancing; in order to hear it in other circumstances, his fans will need to buy the actual album.
18 Months (free for iOS or Android) is a neat idea, but the execution is arguably even better. Click on any of the songs, and the app tells you to dance — by which it means keep the phone moving around.
If you stop moving, the app senses that immediately and stops the music on a dime — that is, until you start moving enough that the app decides you are dancing, whereupon the tunes kick back in. Helpfully, the app includes an image that blacks out when you stop moving and refills as you dance, so that you know exactly how hard you have to work in order to keep the music playing (see image).
This is the handiwork of none other than our pals Syd Lawrence and Paul King of We Make Awesome Sh*t (and Beerophone fame). Lawrence explained how the app came about to Evolver.fm – basically, it was a mixture of necessity and invention.
Calvin Harris and his label (Columbia Records) were looking for a way to promote the entire album to fans who had already snapped up many of the songs as singles. What would make a fan who had already bought the singles get interested in the album as a whole?
“I said ‘well the only way to do that is to let them listen to the whole album for free, legitimately, but with a catch,’” explained Lawrence.
The catch is amusing — it works, it’s simple, and it’s as fun for fans as it is instructive to the music industry on how to promote a record, but the fun doesn’t stop there. To unlock a remix, fans can take a photo of the album’s cover using a camera function within the 18 Months app.
We managed to do that in seconds, because the app recognizes the image straight off of Google search. However, there is a second catch. In order to hear the remix, you will have to — you guessed it — keep dancing. Or maybe jogging.