For the world at large, Bjork might be remembered as the wacky Icelandic singer who wore a swan to the Oscars. Yet in the world of rock and roll, Bjork is considered an innovator — and when it comes to digital engagement, she’s truly the queen. She was one of the first artists to turn her website into a community where fans could talk back to one another. Also she was one of the first artists to use the Internet to sell exclusive merchandise to her followers. So even though the diva has been quiet over the last few years, she’s back with a new record that may change the way artists use all forms of online digital branding.
Biophilia is being described as a “multi-media project encompassing music, apps, Internet, installations and live shows.” Bjork’s record won’t be released with the usual iTunes onslaught followed by a stint on the talk show circuit. Tracks off her seventh studio album will be released as apps and in other forms. Moreover, Bjork employed the latest technology in the making of the record itself. Songs were written and recorded with an iPad, the touchscreen innovations of which the singer describes as vindication for a person who has been “championing electronic music.”
The record itself is a continuation of the same sounds and recording processes she first toyed with on 2007’s Volta. Her website, which she re-launched earlier this month, is optimized for iPad and features some moving space-like graphics that navigate visitors through Bjork’s universe. To promote the album, the singer will performing at the Manchester International Festival for three weeks this summer with one-of-a-kind instruments like a 30-foot pendulum which harnesses the earth’s gravitational pull to create musical patterns. Bjork’s site will serve as a hub for live performances and exclusive content all tying in Biophilia’s unique electronic vision.
Like most innovators, Bjork looks toward the future. As the record industry limps along, artists are being called upon to use all forms of digital branding to elevate sales and visibility. Bjork, in turn, may not only be making an album with technology but creating a template in how art is marketed as well.