John Moose is a Swedish folk band that has chosen to pre-release their debut album and make it publicly available for free! But here’s the catch: you can only listen to it when you are in the woods. After downloading the John Moose app, listeners have the full album available to them on their smartphones. However, since the album will only play once you are in the forest, the next step is to go out into the woods in order to press play.
The app works by using Google Maps to identify areas that are forests (those that are shaded a specific green on the mapping system). Then, the coordinates are sent from your phone and that is what allows you to access the album. By releasing an album in such a way the band is offering listeners a unique and multi-sensory experience of their music whilst also encouraging people to go out and spend time in nature.
The setting of the woods is meant to enhance the listening experience as many songs draw heavily on the theme of a man’s relationship with nature. Given the geo-specific limitation on where people can listen to the album, we are denied the luxury of having this content available to us wherever we want, which is something that many mobile apps have conditioned us to expect. Instead of using music to drown out our fellow bus passengers, this sort of idea forces listeners to stop and embrace an environment wholly while providing an additional layer to the experience.
Adding exclusive audio to the experience of being in a physical location has the ability to change how we feel and understand the spaces we’re in. Aside from the forest, this sort of technology can be implemented in cities as well to create different moods, responses, and experiences. For example the tourism, education, and entertainment industries are only a few that come to mind where this sort of app could be used to create more multi-dimensional experiences in urban spaces.