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Sting’s app: celebrating 25 years of solo career, Steve Jobs and… a “message in an iPad”?

20 November 2011 No Comment

I must confess: I’m a long time Sting fan (and the Police too!) and I’ve been so lucky to attend the Sting Symphonicity concert on July 2011 in Venice.

Now, celebrating a 25 years span of (fantastic) solo career, Sting releases a “message in an iPad”: an appumentary (!) – sorry – a free app that combines music, concert footage, photographs and videos.


The central feature: footage from Sting’s performance last month at New York’s Beacon Theatre, including duets with guests like Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder.
But the app, which is only available for the iPad, is also intended to serve as a retrospective of the artist’s entire solo career.
In all the app features over four hours of music videos, concert footage, interviews and more.

Introducing the Sting 25 app, Sting itself performed the song Fragile, dedicating it to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and saying, “In some way he’s created our future.”

This app comes in at a critical moment for music industry, where apps represent largely uncharted territory in music.

Recently the singer Björk married songs from her album “Biophilia” to a series of spacey video game-style interactives.

Otherwise, few artists’ apps have grabbed mainstream attention—most that exist are rudimentary, compiling tour dates, Twitter feeds and the like for mobile devices.
Artist managers and labels have held off on attempts to develop ambitious apps because the payoffs are unclear.

Sting’s approach seems so innovative just like the very first CD-ROM for Mac by Peter Gabriel 20 years ago or so…

But how much did it cost to make? What’s behind such a new-media production?

More than one million dollars. This is according to the Wall Street Journal and TheAppSide.

“Having recently released a 25th anniversary Sting box set, the singer’s label, Universal Music Group, and publisher, EMI, say they eagerly supported the app as a high-tech showcase for Sting’s catalog,” explains the newspaper.

“The music companies offered up the copyright clearances required, but didn’t chip in on the production budget. Those costs, in the low seven figures, were primarily covered by sponsors American Express and Chevrolet.”

The app was made by New York firm Radical Media, and includes concert footage, photos, handwritten lyrics and diary entries, and 360-degree spinning instruments. Which would explain why it cost so much to make. Hats off to whoever struck the sponsorship deal to cover most of those costs.

Whatever this may turn out, it’s a great app, a great appumentary made in a great way by a great musician of our time!

Warning: the app is 442 MB, this means you should rely on a strong Wi-Fi connection before attempting to download it and, sometimes, it may slow down a bit since it’s quite huge but… it’s all worthwhile!

Get Sting 25 for free right now on iTunes.


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