Sunday, February 23, 2014
Classical Music for Smartphones
Last week I wrote about symphonies presenting music in radio and on-line broadcasts and how both major and regional orchestras take advantage of media to reach broader audiences. With increasing numbers of people carrying around web-connected phones, smartphone apps can provide perhaps an even more important means by which orchestras connect with audiences. As the public becomes ever more connected and tech-savvy, these apps could provide an increasingly important avenue for the younger generation to become acquainted to the classical music tradition. This article begins a series exploring smartphone apps that target the various facets of classical music.
A variety of novel smartphone apps have cropped up with classical music themes. Larson Associates has released an app to Apple’s App Store titled 4' 33" - John Cage (http://www.johncage.org/4_33.html). Like Cage’s famous and controversial composition, this app doesn’t produce any sound. Instead, it allows the user to capture recordings of ambient sounds in “movements” of lengths specified in John Cage’s piece. Users from around the world have uploaded their own “compositions” to share with others.
InstantEncore provides a development solution upon which organizations can build mobile apps for both iOS and Android platforms (http://www.instantencore.com/Learn/Mobile). Orchestras, opera companies, theaters, and ballets can all build apps that display event details; provide music, photos, and videos; send notifications to users; integrate with social media; and display custom content such as performer bios. Users can call the organization from within their app or purchase tickets online. Orchestras such as the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, and the Columbus Symphony have all taken advantage of the InstantEncore solution to connect with audiences.
As apps such as InstantEncore help orchestras reach broader audiences, the hope is they will bring more people to concerts to here live performances. There is a sense that classical music is the domain of elderly, stuffy, predominantly white audiences, and smartphone apps may help change this perception.
Check out all the articles in the Classical Music for Smartphones Series: