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So just a few days ago, the report came out that the biggest music star in the world, Lady Gaga, would be releasing her next album, titled ARTPOP, as a “multimedia experience” available in several formats, most notably, a downloadable app for mobile computing devices and smartphones (think iPhones, iPads, Android devices, PSPs, what have you.) The move really should come as no surprise to anyone immersed in the changing face of music and the album format, as so many artists, labels and music companies are still trying to figure out what that next great format will be, and have been toying with several ideas for years now.

 Reported on Billboard.com, in Fast Company magazine and The Guardia from the UK, the move by Gaga is seen by many as an opportunity to not only expand the brand of Lady Gaga (which already includes tons of endorsement deals, the website LittleMonsters.com, and several mega-selling tours under the artists’ belt), but also a chance for Gaga to continue trying to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to music innovation in the 21st century, something she’s been trying to maintain since her fist album, The Fame, in 2008.

 Gaga seems to continually take her inspiration from another peculiar artist that has built a successful career on weirdness: Bjork. The Icelandic singers latest project, Biophilia, came complete to fans with a while suite of iPhone and iPad apps to create an experience for fans that took them beyond just the music, and maybe a little deeper into Bjork’s world. For now, Gaga’s ARTPOP album details are still being worked out, with a release date still tentatively set for later this year of early in 2013.

 So, can we safely say that this is both the present and the future of the album? Maybe so, but just as with anything else in the music world today, nothing is for certain. Granted, popular and mainstream music in this day and age may have a little more to do with how and where fans can experience it, and convenience as a whole. But I’m sure there have also been plenty of big-named artists that decided they wanted to go the interactive route, whether it’s with a mobile game, a mobile app, or what have you, and it didn’t quite work out the way that they wanted it to.

 The music consumption experience has become more important than ever, especially for artists like Lady Gaga, who are working in whatever area they can to maintain the massive success that they have gained through savvy business deals, focused personal branding and the backing of the major music machine. And the fans know this. They are more involved than any generation of music fans has ever been through the regular use of social media, smart devices, free music flowing like water on the Internet, and an overall changing of the guard that’s still reshaping the industry as we speak.

 There is still a lot more to Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP story that will come out in the coming months, as well as to the whole idea of the interactive album and what it can do for the music industry. But we can be certain of one thing: this isn’t the wave of the future, because the future is already here.

Ron Grant is a freelance journalist and blogger originally from Detroit and currently residing in Orlando. He is a contributor at HipHopDX.com, is the lead writer for Orlando-based indie music label Conscious Mind Records and runs his own independent music blog, The Music Nerdvocate. Follow him on Twitter @RonGreezy.