Lady Gaga's ARTPOP Apes the App Craze

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Lady Gaga this week announced a release date of Nov. 11 for her next album, ARTPOP. More significantly, her team is extending an important industry trend, namely the release of an app that enhances the album listeners' experience.

Gaga's app is firmly wedded to the album itself but promises to combine "music, art, fashion and technology with a new interactive worldwide community." A single is promised for release Aug. 19 and pre-orders of the album will be possible beginning Sept. 1.

Bjork was an early proponent of the app release as an important component of an overall marketing push. Her impressive 2011 release Biophilia was first released as a series of apps that, as a collection, featured a themed, attractive interface, games, graphic scores of the songs and an interactive element that lets users toy with the music itself, improvising their own structures within the album's universe of sounds.

Many are expecting to see an explosion in app/album releases, but others see the app as being an unnatural fit into the world of music releases, at best an awkward merchandizing on the basic appeal of music listening.

But the app also figures into another even more popular trend in the recording industry: the pre-release of an album (sometimes described erroneously as "leaking") as a complete stream on one of a variety of platforms, with Apple's ( AAPL) iTunes being the most popular.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers were early adoptees of the pre-release strategy, making their entire 2011 release, I'm With You, available free as an iTunes stream. This year the practice hit full swing.

David Bowie streamed The Next Day for free on iTunes in the weeks prior to its official March 8 release date and Justin Timberlake followed immediately with a pre-release of JT, officially released March 15. Daft Punk caused a Twitter frenzy with the pre-release of its Random Access Memories in May. The effect on first-week sales generally has been so positive that the pre-release streaming has now become de rigeur across the industry.

Jay-Z's recent pre-release deal with Samsung combined the two trends, featuring an app that gave Samsung users early access to Magna Carta . . . Holy Grail in exchange for personal data. The move netted Jay-Z a big chunk of change even before the release date because, in a somewhat controversial move, he sold the rights to pre-release the album to Samsung, guaranteeing a wide distribution in the process. He also took advantage of Samsung's publicity to announce the album's release to an even wider circle of music fans.

In yet another way, Lady Gaga is on top of the latest trends: appearing as pretentious as possible. As if competing with Kanye West's God complex, the Gaga machine promises complete cultural transcendence in language sufficiently inflated to make the most ardent art school graduate gag.

No less than "altering the human experience with social media," the press release promises "a reverse Warholian expedition. ... On this day, Nov. 11 HAUS of GAGA venges with forte to bring the music industry into a new age, an age where art drives pop, and the artist is once again in control of the 'icon'."

Does "venges with forte" makes her sound a little like Dr. Emilio Lizardo? Or is it just me?

The project will include collaborations with artists and a release event Nov. 10 will feature collaborations with Inez & Vinoodh, Robert Wilson, Marina Abramovic and Jeff Koons.

Whether the total album experience will include a pre-release audio stream remains to be seen. Gaga is one of the most popular artists in the world and certainly doesn't need much more than this announcement to build anticipation for her latest effort. But given her need to appear out in front on all aspects of the industry, I would expect some twist on Daft Punk's "leaked"-album-as-a-promo strategy, with all the inherent Twitter drama, sometime in late October.

-- Written by Carlton Wilkinson in New York City

If you liked this article you might like

There Are Many Signs Investors Have Totally Forgotten About S&P 500 Correction

There Are Many Signs Investors Have Totally Forgotten About S&P 500 Correction

Quick Tips: Now What Should Investors Do?

Quick Tips: Now What Should Investors Do?

7 Inexpensive ETFs for Small-Cap and Micro-Cap Exposure

7 Inexpensive ETFs for Small-Cap and Micro-Cap Exposure

Buy Stocks That Are Right for You: Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap (Friday 2/16/18)

Buy Stocks That Are Right for You: Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap (Friday 2/16/18)

Shorts Trampled In Bull Market Rally; UPS Share Structure Examined -- ICYMI

Shorts Trampled In Bull Market Rally; UPS Share Structure Examined -- ICYMI