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I spent a lot of time at this years Japan Media Arts Festival taking place at the National Art Gallery in Roppongi, and this year I’m finally appreciating the event. There were always interesting award winners and installations (Team Lab’s RFID hanger system to mention one), but the rise of apps as appreciated art is more and more interesting.
Not being a massive anime geek, a lot of the exhibits don’t really grab me, but the rather understated line of tables featuring nothing but headphone-connected iPhones and iPads showing off app award winners sucked me right in.
Honestly, I have no idea if this is even prevalent somewhere in the world, but I immediately wondered why I never see an in-store display featuring just a phone with a cool app installed, waiting for me to play with it (and ultimately buy it). Try-before-you-buy WORKS, which is why I shelled out $2 to get the Muse’ic app featuring a single from Salyu’s album s(o)un(d)beams that uses the phone’s camera to make a live, unique music video.
There’s already a pretty decent system for affiliate sales of apps in Japan, especially taking place with a company called Best Create, which has the staff of several thousand mobile phone shops actively recommending smartphone apps to customers when they get a new handset. The customers get to find new apps from someone who knows better than them, the developer makes a sale, and the shop gets a commission. Win-win-win.
One of the biggest problems I have with app like Spotify is that it’s still hard to find good new music that I like, and the same goes for apps. We’re busy people after all, but find a good way to put an interesting product in front of me and I’ll buy it, and I’m not alone. The most recent review in months for Tiny Riot (another featured app at the festival) says that they discovered it the same way I did, and gave it five stars.