Digital agency B-Reel teams up with Google for HTML5 showcase on tablets and smartphones
Bobby Womack’s latest album, The Bravest Man In The Universe, has been reminding music fans why his reputation as "The Greatest Soul Singer In The World" is well deserved. Now the video for the album’s title track is positioning him at the cutting-edge of technology too.
It’s an interactive music video hosted online, and designed to be played on smartphones and tablets. The video is the result of a collaboration between Womack’s label XL Recordings, digital agency B-Reel and Google – the latter involved to make it a showcase for its Chrome for Android browser.
Accessed at www.bravestman.com, the video sees you swiping up and down to guide a space shuttle, pulling planets together, and pinching to travel through an asteroid field: all soundtracked by Womack’s arresting vocals.
"We wanted to combine a technology showcase of Chrome for Android’s capabilities with a mainstream music appeal to increase the reach of the project and change people’s performance expectations of the mobile web," says B-Reel’s creative director Patrick Ehrlund.
"We’re excited about the possibilities of the mobile web, and we hope this inspires others, too."
I’ve been playing with the video on Google’s new Nexus 7 Android tablet, but also in the Safari browser on Apple’s iPhone. It works well on both. Bravest Man is interesting, too, for the way it sits in between previous interactive projects of this nature.
On one side, you’ve got HTML5 music videos intended for desktop web browsers, such as The Wilderness Downtown (based on Arcade Fire’s track We Used To Wait) and OK Go’s All Is Not Lost. Google was involved in both.
On the other side, you have native mobile and tablet apps that try to provide an interactive experience around music rather than simply marketing it. Bjork’s Biophilia is the most famous example, but The Polyphonic Spree also have a creative interactive video app for their song Bullseye.
HTML5 videos designed to play nice with tablet and smartphone touchscreens sit neatly between the two. They might not be the sole successor to the traditional music video, but they’re certainly an intriguing alternative.
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