Is Google, YouTube and mega-producer Danger Mouse giving the world a glimpse of the evolution of music and music promotion? Or are they simply using the esoteric Danger Mouse to show off the power of Web GL and HTML5? Or is it an exercise in both endeavors? If you answered "both," you're probably along the right lines.
What we have is, thanks to a post at the YouTube blog, Danger Mouse partnering with Italian composer Daniele Luppi for the Rome project. In order to fulfill their vision, Mouse and Luppi commissioned Jack White and Norah Jones to write and record songs for the Rome album, but the creativity didn't stop there. After the recording was completed, the duo commissioned direct Chris Milk to create what's being called an "interactive video," which makes extensive use of Web GL and HTML5.
In order to view the video/interactive via your web browser creation, called "3 Dreams of Black," you have to have an HTML5/Web GL compatible browser. If so, simply type in the following web address: ro.me, and hit enter. Unfortunately, "3 Dreams of Black" does not work on non-compatible browsers, and such visitors are greeted with the following message:
We are sorry, but it appears that your browser does not support WebGL. “3 Dreams of Black” is an experiment that was designed with the browser Google Chrome in mind. Please try launching this site again on a computer with up-to-date graphics drivers. Though not the full experience, you can also watch a video trailer, access the rest of the ROME album site, and learn more about WebGL technology.
To celebrate the launch/release, YouTube has turned over curation of the site to Danger Mouse and Luppi. The focus of their content are additional Chris Milk creations. Over at the Danger Mouse Vevo page, the entire Rome album is available for listening, and we've also embedded it at the top of this post. There's also a trailer for the album, which, as mentioned previously, is a phenomenon exclusive to the Internet, thanks, in large part, to the ease of creating and broadcasting Internet videos. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't remember trailers for upcoming albums -- no, I don't consider a commercial for an upcoming release to be a trailer -- appearing on MTV back when they played music. The trailer in question:
As for the Rome album, Rolling Stone seems pretty happy with it, saying:
...the tracks featuring White and Jones are quite good, but ultimately the record "is as much about sublime instrumentals — made of celesta, harpsichord, Hammond organ, strings, nasty funk guitar and those weird-ass choirs — as lead singers."
While the use of HTML5/Web GL is the draw for this particular industry (e-biz), attention should also be paid to the fantastic new methods of marketing products that have been introduced in recent years. Clearly, the web has redefined how products are marketed, but now, as technology continues to advance, these marketing methods take on a life of their own.