Dispatches from the Digital Revolution

Crowdsourced ebook soundtrack hits the (digital) shelves


Publishing singularity strikes again, this time with a social network twist.

For a while now, I’ve had scored ebooks on my mind—“scored” as in fully scored, with music, sound effects, and written narrative smoothly integrated to create something immersive without depending on visuals. Don’t get me wrong, I like images, videos, and animations just as much as the next person, but I do take issue with mediums that do injustice to the world of literature.

Bad movies based on wonderful books? Blockbuster movies based on books that should never have seen the light of day? Let us not speak of such painful topics. Let us speak, instead, of illuminating the written word in new and innovative ways.

On Monday, August 27 Indaba Music issued a press release about its latest collaboration with Booktrack:

Booktrack, the creator of a new and engaging way to read that matches synchronized music and ambient sound to the text of your favorite eBooks, and Indaba Music, the leading online community of musicians and marketplace for music opportunities, today announced the release of the publishing industry’s first crowdsourced Booktrack to enhance the reading experience. Indaba Music’s online community of over 700,000 musicians were challenged to create each audio cue required for the H.G. Wells novel, “The Time Machine” through an online music creation opportunity producing more than 600 individual submissions from which the winning cues were selected and incorporated into the Booktrack soundtrack.

The Booktrack/Indaba Music collaboration of The Time Machine can be purchased for $1.99 through the Booktrack Bookshelf App which can be downloaded for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch from the App Store.

Crowdsourcing content might very well be the best method of diffusing this new literary genre through the world of Apple, which continues to grow with each passing season—especially with the rumored iPad mini entering the market. According to Soundctrl, an event platform for the convergence of music and digital media, more scoring collaborations might be on the horizon.

And yet I do wonder where all this is heading. Perhaps the next step will involve a call for original story submissions before crowdsourcing the music and sound effects. And after that? Perhaps a downloadable app which allows writers, musicians, and other media professionals to create and sell their own Booktrack books using a business model similar to that of Apple’s iBooks Author.

While I’m not completely sold on enhanced ebooks, the concept of “scored literature” strikes me as legitimately stylish. Good books + good music. Who am I to complain?


This entry was posted on September 5, 2012 by in Culture, Technology and tagged , , .

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