Why the Music Industry is getting all hot and bothered about Augmented Reality

892 beatles ar app.jpg

It’s not a big secret that the music industry got caught napping by the internet. A few years of ignoring it have cost them dear and suddenly they have an industry-crushing crisis on their hands.

Mick Jagger gave a bleak little assessement of it all on the BBC Today, claiming that the golden age was over and that no-one was likely to make any money out of music for the forseeable future.

Anyway, whatever the long-term holds, now the music industry has woken up to tech trends and are staring at tech crystal balls with the ferocious alertness waiting to leap on new opportunities. That’s one of the reasons why they’ve picked up on Augmented Reality with a vengeance.

I say “with a vengeance” – there have been two Augmented Reality apps made recently,the Beatles AR app and now the Rolling Stones AR app both on the Layar platform. But considering that the platform is very young – that’s quite significant.

Other companies making AR apps include a forward thinking estate agent – Trulia – and Yellow Pages who have commissioned significant apps. But those companies are more obvious matches with Augmented Reality because a lot of their information is location-based.

Anyway, looks like the music industry are harnessing some creative brains into this AR app thing and while the Beatles app released on Layar (Dec 09) was an experiment it certainly caught the music industry’s attention. Polydor’s Rolling Stones app Exile on my Street is perhaps a sign of the future – an AR app that lets you leave band posters and songs pinned to certain areas and visible to other people with the Layar app.


Can they do interesting things there? Well it’s early days for AR, but given the new social aspects in Layar and the fact that 1/3 smartphones sold this year now ship with Layar on board, it’s certainly a big space to be exploited.

Whether the music industry find great uses for it or get too tied up in licensing arrangements remains to be seen.


Anna Leach


  • Can’t spot if it is irony that we’ll probably never be able to save progress in SMW. But it’s totally unsatisfying, at least for me. Otherwise, keep up the good work!

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