U of S, Indie Ink, local artist collaboration unveils “New Rockstar Philosophy” app at MoSo

Saskatoon, S.K., –  A how-to book for musicians and bands has been rendered into an interactive app with multi-media features thanks to collaboration among University of Saskatchewan software developers, a local street artist, and Saskatoon publishing house Indie Ink.

Media received a sneak peek at The New Rockstar Philosophy app at the U of S Industry Liaison Office before its official unveiling June 12 at the MoSo 2014 conference currently underway in Saskatoon. The app is based on a book of the same name by Matt Voyno and Roshan Hoover, described as “a guerrilla blueprint for digitally conscious artists, festival organizers, band managers, musicians, digital devotees.”

“We believe we’re on the front edge of having experimented in this way,” said Suzanne Paschall, CEO of 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.”

Indie Ink worked with Flavio Ishii, a graduate student and developer within the Mobile Apps Development Department in the U of S Department of Computer Science. Ishii’s supervisor, Professor Ralph Deters, explained the project provided valuable hands-on experience, with a real-world product at its conclusion.

“This collaboration made it possible to basically plug in our advanced R&D capabilities into a small local company, allowing them to experiment and build capacity,” Deters said. “At the same time, Flavio, one of our great young developers, gained experience on a commercial product team and we hope, a foot in the door for their next project.”

The New Rockstar Philosophy was chosen from Indie Ink’s catalogue for several reasons, Paschall explained. The book is a how-to guide and its subject matter lends itself well to incorporating sound, images and video to enrich the content. Also, the book’s target audience is already highly engaged in social media, as are the book’s authors. Local street artist Cody Powell was commissioned to create 14 original images of music industry icons quoted at the beginning of the book’s chapters.

“Bringing in another creator from a different medium was an inspired idea from several perspectives,” Paschall said. “We could add value to the print version of the book through original interview videos with bands, discussion and note-taking tools and other features, but we also wanted to add aesthetic value, which Cody really brought to the project.”

The project was financed in part by 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.”

The official launch of The New Rockstar Philosophy will be held at Haslan Hall (The Refinery) at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 12 as part of MoSo’s “From the Field” series. MoSo, billed as “Canada’s Mobile Social Conference” is happening in Saskatoon from June 11 to 14.

The New Rockstar Philosophy app will be available for download through the Apple iTunes store for iPad, iPad Mini and iPad Retina devices only in its first version. Paschall said Indie Ink hopes to be able to provide updates to the book and make it available for other devices in the future.

About Mitacs:

Mitacs is a national, not-for-profit organization that develops the next generation of innovators with vital skills through a suite of unique research and training programs: Mitacs Accelerate, Elevate, Step, and Globalink. In partnership with companies, government and universities, Mitacs is supporting a new economy using Canada’s most valuable resource — its people.