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Michael Jackson’s ‘Scream’ Features an All-New Track—and Augmented Reality

The King of Pop may not be literally back from the dead, but a brand-new collection of his ghoulish hits comes packaged with a creepy AR experience.

Just in time for Halloween season, Michael Jackson’s party mix, Scream, dropped this past Friday. Not only will it include macabre hit songs like Thriller,” “Somebody’s Watching Me,” “Ghosts,” and “Torture”the collection will also come with a first-ever, Shazam-powered augmented reality experience.

The experience is triggered using an exclusive poster that comes with the CD. For vinyl diehards, the album art of the limited edition glow-in-the-dark 2LP will also activate the experience (ships October 27).

This isn’t the first-time music and AR have come together to create an immersive audio experience for music fans. Artists such as BjörkColdplay and David Wexler (AKA Strangeloop) have all created AR or VR experiences for their fans, but this is the first AR experience attached to a Michael Jackson release.

This also marks a powerful entry into the AR sphere by Shazam; this is the first global AR initiative from the music-tagging company.

Alongside Shazam, Sony Records and the Estate for Michael Jackson worked with the creatives at Flight School to come up with an AR experience that promises to live up to the legend’s name, reflecting Michael Jackson’s innovative thinking.

To launch the AR experience, simply open the Shazam app and point the camera at the exclusive poster. Doing so brings the poster to life with black crows bursting out of the image and into your own world, all while the exclusive bonus track, “Blood on The Dance Floor X Dangerous“—a mash-up of five Michael Jackson songs by The White Panda—plays in the background.

You can find an online tutorial on how to access the AR experience here.

“I think this was the ideal artist to try something out like AR,” said Robert Ham, a music writer for PastePitchfork, and Alternative Press in an interview with VRScout. “Michael Jackson and his people took such care in the visual presentation of his music. Those folks who have been following his career for a long time will love to see MJ back in action, even in animated form.”

A spokesperson from Legacy Records told me that along with the release of the 13-song collection, there will also be six official Michael Jackson SCREAM celebrations in Paris, London, Sydney, Berlin, Los Angeles and Tokyo—encouraging fans to participate in the events.  Anyone that attends any of these events will get a screening of Jackson’s seven short films from Scream, followed by an after party.

Additionally, Scream billboards and posters will start appearing worldwide featuring the Shazam logo for a second AR experience. Scream is available now on CD as well as all digital streaming sites.

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