Saskatoon Star-Phoenix: Everything future rockstars need to know is now at their fingertips

A locally written how-to book for musicians and other artists has been made into an interactive app.

The New Rockstar Philosophy app has multimedia features that include sharing capabilities, original images of music industry icons by a local artist and video interviews with bands.

“We believe we’re on the front edge of having experimented in this way,” said Suzanne Paschall, CEO of the app’s publisher, Indie Ink. “We know children’s books, other fiction and web-based magazine articles are the most common choices for interactive app-based book projects, but it’s still new ground for adult non-fiction.”

The app, officially unveiled at the MoSo 2014 conference in Saskatoon, is based on a book by Matt Voyno and Roshan Hoover, The New Rockstar Philosophy, described as “a guerrilla blueprint for digitally conscious artists, festival organizers, band managers, musicians, digital devotees.”

Concepts covered include how to book shows and tours, how to crowdfund, social media strategies, branding anddigital marketing strategies. The app is a collaborative effort by Saskatoon publishing house Indie Ink, University of Saskatchewan software developers and a local street artist.

Paschall said the book was originally intended for musicians but, “we realized that a lot of the strategies are just as valuable for an author as they are for a musician. “All kinds of artistic creators that are thinking of what they do as a small business— choreographers, visual artists, authors — they develop their home-based business exactly the way musicians and bands do.”

Exclusive to the app are five video interviews with a pair of bands in the book, original artwork by underground graffiti artist Cody Powell, note-taking capability for each chapter, updates and the ability to interact with fellow readers and the authors.

“You can also join discussions and that takes you to a special discussion page on the new Rockstar Philosophy website,” Paschall said, “that allows anybody who has downloaded the book to interact with anybody else that has downloaded the book.”

The New Rockstar Philosophy was chosen from Indie Ink’s catalogue because the subject matter lends itself to incorporating sound, images and video to enrich the content, Paschall said. She called the project “a living laboratory.” “We can constantly, fix, add, develop and it is less expensive for us to do that (than start a new project),” she said. “When you buy a book like this … you get these little Christmas gifts every time we download a new version … like more video content or geotagging a street tour of the art (in the book).”

Paschall said embracing these new technologies doesn’t mean the end of the paperback, but enhancing the experience. “It is not that we don’t love paper books,” she said. “We still make them, we still read them, we still hold them very close. But we are also really excited about the immense new world of possibility that technology has created for us.”

The project was financed in part by Canadian innovation funding agency Mitacs through its Accelerate program, which aims to help companies build capacity while simultaneously nurturing graduate students from “learning to earning.” MoSo continues today. For a schedule of events go to