Music as Apps

By Vincent Meelberg


Hardly anyone could have missed the news regarding the new iPhone. In a well-orchestrated keynote presentation, held last month, Apple introduced the most recent iteration of its immensely successful product, again claiming that it is “the best iPhone ever.” Be it as it may, this wonderful device has caused the demise of another, former, hit product created by Apple: the iPod. Along with the introduction of the iPhone 6 the iPod Classic was quietly discontinued.

Of course, the iPod Touch, basically an iPhone without a phone, still exists, but this is a completely different device. An iPod Classic was a device devoted exclusively to music listening. Your entire music collection could be stored on its 160 Gb hard drive. The iPod Touch, on the other hand, does not have that storage capacity. Moreover, it is not meant as a music player, but as an interactive media device.

Perhaps at first sight this might not seem as a big deal, but the fact that Apple, one of the pioneers regarding the digital distribution of music, no longer offers a dedicated music player, may be indicative of a more general trend: a change in the way people appreciate music. In a rather nostalgic article, Wired’s Mat Honan links the disappearance of the iPod Classic to the fact that we are no longer defined by our music, music that we bought, owned, and collected. And I believe he is correct. Even though services such as Spotify and Rdio make most (but definitely not all) recorded music available to their users, creating a playlist in these services is not the same as collecting LPs, CDs, or even iTunes tracks. We no longer need to invest time and money in our music collection, and therefore the value we ascribe to music has changed.

Peter Kirn has a different take on these developments and discusses another recent phenomenon: releasing music as apps. Apps are particularly suited to devices such as the iPhone and iPod Touch, for they use both images and sound and invite interaction. Therefore, releasing music as apps turns music into something more than mere sounds, but at the same time transforms the way we define music. Take Björk’s Biophilia, for instance, one of the first examples of music as app. This app is almost a work of art, with excellent graphics that ask to be touched and manipulated. I have the app myself, but I still haven’t actually listened to the songs themselves. I’ve heard snippets of music while playing with the app, but I cannot really recall any of the songs. So, is music as app the future of music, or will it turn music into something else, a game perhaps?

Image credits: Fe Ilya via Shared under creative commons

Master’s programme in Creative Industries

High fashion and nerdy technology? Tourism and literature? Perhaps not the likeliest combinations, but nowadays they turn out to be highly complementary. If you want to know how and why, Creative Industries might just be the right Master’s programme for you.

The creative sector has grown into a proper industry: companies and social institutions borrow ideas from artists and designers, the tourist industry happily uses literary concepts in their marketing, and classical music, art and museums play a large role in city branding. The fashion industry has already proven that creativity and commerce fit together effortlessly, but this development needs to be evaluated critically from a historical and theoretical perspective. The Creative Industries Master’s degree, which is unique to the Netherlands, provides you with the tools to do just that.

Theory and practice

During the programme you will study the (post)industrial society as a cultural phenomenon. The case studies you will work with include the fashion-industry, new media and the role of images, and the tourist industry. You will also analyse themes such as creativity and the so-called ‘21st Century Skills’ in policy-making and education, the relationships between subjects and material culture, and how cultural heritage can be effectively incorporated in today’s ‘participation society’.

If you want to make a career in the area where art meets commerce, where highbrow meets lowbrow, and where elite meets public, Creative Industries will definitely suit your interests. This degree will help you develop the reflective, inquisitive and critical attitude you need to succeed in this field, while closely looking at research methods and discussions currently surrounding these topics. After completing the programme, you will have the skills you need to contribute to the development of the young and dynamic creative sector.

Master’s programme in Creative Industries

Master Kunstbeleid en Mecenaat

In het masterprogramma kunstbeleid en mecenaat aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen leer je nadenken over vragen als: zijn bezuinigingen op kunst en cultuur wel zo erg? De kunsten kunnen toch best zichzelf bedruipen? Of is het een taak van de overheid om te investeren in kunst en cultuur? En zo ja, waarom dan? In dit masterprogramma staat niet het kunstwerk zelf centraal, maar de maatschappelijke rol en context van kunst en cultuur. Dat bekijk je vanuit het perspectief van de overheid, van de mecenas of cultuursponsor en van de kunsthandel.

In dit masterprogramma stap je regelrecht de praktijk in. Zo krijg je een goed beeld van de culturele sector en het werkveld waar je als afgestudeerde in terechtkomt. Toch is dit niet alleen een programma voor doeners, maar ook voor denkers. Je denkt kritisch na over wat er in de praktijk gebeurt en om achterliggende motieven en argumenten in (beleids)discussies bloot te leggen. Dat doe je in colleges, maar ook tijdens je onderzoeksstage. Zo kun je bijdragen aan effectievere investeringen en projecten in de wereld van kunst en cultuur.

De Masterprogramma’s van Algemene Cultuurwetenschappen: