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Music Just Isn't Enough, Warner Bros. to Offer Visual Album

We've recently heard about the album as art, as well as the album that thinks it's a magazine, and now Warner Brothers offers us another alternative—the video album.

In an effort to make inroads in the digital entertainment arena, Warner Premiere—a small division of Warner Brothers charged with extracting profit from the digital space—has experimented with a handful of ways to integrate studio Hollywood with online media. Last year's Watchmen "Motion Comic," an animated slideshow cast from the original comic's panels, attempted somewhat successfully to reconcile the graphic novel-turned-film with online platforms. Its latest project, titled The Adventures of One eskimO (capitalization theirs) is a similar attempt to mesh a previously existing medium with the online world, this time in the form of a "visual album.

The series of 10 animated video shorts tells a larger story about One Eskimo, who must rely on his band of animal friends to rescue his true love from the evil Mr. Top Hat, a toothy villain with a signature fashion accessory. But the animation on its own doesn't tell the whole story; rather, each video accompanies a song on the debut CD from British band One eskimO. Played together, one gets soundtrack and visuals, creating a full narrative multimedia experience.

It's easy to take pause here. Multimedia? Most films produced after the late 1920s, animated or otherwise, have included sound as part of the package. Is Warner now selling the sound and video separately and calling it a multimedia package? Well, yes. But it's not so simple. Rather than a film stripped of sound, it's an album with video added, layering a visual narrative over the audio. It's a way for users to enjoy the album in a 21st-century way and to mesh digital sound with a potentially profitable Web presence beyond the MySpace page, and Warner sees a lot of upside in the equation. Who knows? After years of declining popularity, the music video might even become cool again, something outside the teen-pop purview of TRL.

The album will arrive in stores on Sept. 22, and Warner hopes the idea will smolder into something hot online even if it doesn't necessarily catch fire immediately. "It's definitely got characters and story potential that we would hope to see grow beyond digital," Warner Premiere President Diane Nelson told The New York Times. We'll see if that happens, and we'll hear it too.

[via The New York Times]