"Achtung Baby Interactive Songbook" - U2


Track Listing:

Background Information

In 2000 Universal Music launched a series of software packages each titled “Interactive Songbook.” The initial launch included Queen’s “Greatest Hits,” Sting and the Police “The Very Best Of”, Texas’ “White on Blond”, Beautiful South’s “Carry on Up the Charts”, and the Lighthouse Family’s “Ocean Drive”. Also included in the initial offerings was the “Achtung Baby Interactive Songbook” by U2. The press release described these releases as “Featuring albums from some of the world’s most famous artists, the 2Cd-Rom Interactive Songbook set consists of both a keyboard and Guitar tutorial which teaches the user to play the songs from the album and includes a multimedia reference section on each artist. Universal Music is 100% behind encouraging as many potential musicians as possible to pick up an instrument and follow in the footsteps of their idols. The six albums featured have sold over 40 million world-wide.” The sets were initially priced at 17.99GBP.

The initial offerings were boxed with a unique cover, and included two CDs. In the case of the U2 CD, one is an audio CD with the complete album Achtung Baby. The CD-Rom contained instruction on the guitar and keyboard parts of each song on the album. It also included videos, and a U2 trivia quiz, and the back of the interior CD mentions that the package has been fully approved by the band. The outer case mentioned both CDs are CD-ROM. The version with the full album is a UK pressing on CD, although it has a unique print on the CD itself – instead of the usual graffiti most are used to the CD face is burgundy in colour. The box lists that the contents are made in the EU, the underside of the media however list “Made in the UK by Universal M&L”.

On the first disc four videos by U2 are included at 352×240 pixels in size in mpg format. These include “The Fly” (04:53), “One” (Restaurant Version) (04:35), “Even Better Than The Real Thing” (03:42) and “Mysterious Ways” (04:03). There are two additional avi format videos on the disc including one that shows the Macromedia logo in motion, and one that contains the credits for the project.

Also included on the first disc is a U2 quiz, which involves three different levels of difficulty, easy, medium and hard. Each question asked has three possible answers, and you are given 10 seconds to answer before being penalized and losing a point. Audio hints are available in the game and these are 17 different soundclips ranging from 2 to 6 seconds in length taken from the U2 songs. These clips are in wav format on the disc. Also as part of the quiz are 21 additional soundclips that are not U2 related, things like the sound of typing. The remainder of the disc are help files associated with the musical training, and the training itself.

Further a website at musicislive.com was set up to allow for a discussion of the product and music. That site however is no longer active. And the site was quickly moved to interactivesongbook.com instead. The site had initially discussed downloads for the product, but this never happened. Instead the site remained focused on selling these sets as well as technical support.

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