Davina Henry, Staff Reporter
Jamaican music has been keeping up with some of the advances of technology through several applications (apps). A mobile application (mobile app) is a software application designed to run on smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile devices. They are usually available through application distribution platforms
Now anyone can install the apps and have the music literally at their fingertips. Google's Play Store, one of the more popular app stores hosts several of these apps.
Established Jamaican stations such as Fame 95FM, Hitz 92FM and RJR 94FM can be found, as well as smaller, less popular stations have already developed an app for their fan base.
Artistes such as Damian Marley, Vybz Kartel, Konshens and Popcaan also have apps built specifically for their music. These apps, when activated, allow users to view videos and songs from these entertainers.
These apps not only carry music and videos, but also lyrics. The Dancehall Lyrics Free app, for instance, hosts lyrics from a variety of Jamaican entertainers such as Eek-A-Mouse, Sanchez, Patra, Capleton, Sizzla, and Shaggy. That app allows for viewing the lyrics either by song or by album.
For example, more than 20 albums from Sizzla are featured. Sound Effects and Dancehall DJ Sounds, which are sound-board apps, have been receiving good reviews. These can be utilised by DJs to add several sound effects to their sets.
Dean Morris, an app developer, told The Sunday Gleaner he has seen an increase in the number of artistes and radio stations who require this technology.
More individuals taking this route
"Mobile technology has risen so more individuals are taking this route. I find that it is mostly radio stations and newspaper companies that require the app," he said.
He added that an app takes up to 18 weeks to be developed and that the cost depends on the type of app that an individual or company requires.
"I started to see an increase in the number of persons who wanted apps in 2012. That was when Android and iPhones started taking over. This year I've also seen an increase in the number of apps geared towards the entertainment industry," Morris said.
Having launched his own app in late 2011, Konshens told The Sunday Gleaner he believes the world has turned its attention to the Internet and technological marketing, so it was only fitting for him to launch his own app.
"All the other genres were doing it, so it was only a matter of time before someone stepped out and I said, let me take this step," he said.
Konshens' app includes features such as upcoming tour dates, images, new songs and new videos. He also acknowledged that more artistes should be looking into launching apps or they will be left behind.
"I have definitely benefited from having an app. It's very good because I'm always in close contact to everything that's happening and you get to check up on your demographic," the artiste said.
Similarly, Janice Young, projects coordinator for Fame FM explained the need for an app came from the requests of the listeners.
"The Fame FM app is available on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. Our fans wanted to have Fame FM wherever they go, so the RJR group made sure all persons who have smartphones are facilitated," Young said.
She explained that the app has been doing exceptionally well in terms of its reach with the fans.
"Tens of thousands of persons all over the world are tuning in to Fame FM, even as far as Lebanon. We have gained a lot more international listeners, and based on the traction and feedback that we have from Twitter, we see that we have a lot of persons listening to Fame FM on the app," she said.
But while Konshens believes that it is imperative for all artistes to have an app, Young believes that an app only makes sense if you are an established artiste.
"If you have the content, then it makes sense as an artiste because people would have access to your music, but if you have three songs, what exactly would you be promoting? An app definitely makes sense for an artiste with an extensive catalogue," Young said.