Borrowing from the Past to solve the Future

iTunes had a massive impact on the music industry. Not only did it eliminate the need for audiences to visit a music store to pick up the latest music from their favourite artist, but it also changed the consumption behaviour. No longer did you have to purchase an entire album just to hear that Track No. 6 which you love.


This is a great move for consumers who can now receive much greater satisfaction and value from their music spend by selecting only the elements they want. But it’s not great for the music industry. All of a sudden rather than their customers paying $20 for an entire album they are now only spending $2.19 on their selected tracks. And these selected tracks are often the ones with the large promotional push that would have been released as singles for those of you that remember buying music on CD.

So how do you get the other tracks in the album off the virtual shelves?

New York indie-pop band AJR have delved back into the past to find an answer which could encourage more album purchasing (or at least purchasing more tracks from the one album). The overture. Chances are that if a customer loves one of an artist’s songs, they will probably get value from many of their other releases. But how do you get them listening to these other options without relying on them to click through the 30sec sound bites in the iTunes Store?

An overture is essentially the original and most impressive mash up. It takes a huge number of musical themes and melodies and mixes them up together in the one piece but is only usually found in classical symphonies, operas, ballets and musical theatre. Never pop music.

AJR turned to the overture to solve this problem. Mashing up the major themes from each of the tracks in their most recent album ‘Living Room’, this band created a 2:30 snippet of the entire album. This gives the listener the opportunity to pinpoint a number of other tracks which appeal to them encouraging a bit of exploration and hopefully a number of other purchases aside from the title single.

Imagine if this became standard with any album. Not only would it take the mash-up concept to a whole new level, but it could possibly solve the problem of listeners only purchasing one track in an album!