Pearl Jam:  Mobile Bootlegs App

Design & UX

CLIENT:  Pearl Jam, BlackBerry & Verizon Wireless


Giving the Music Away

In the middle of all the controversy around music piracy, Pearl Jam decided to try something new... Just give the music away! 

Pearl Jam's "Mobile Bootleg" app gave users 3 free "live" tracks, a copy of the set list and photos from each of the stops on their Backspacer tour.  By the end of the tour, fans would have over two albums worth of live music, and all of it free.  


3 Different Methods of Interaction 

The app was released for the Blackberry, Android and iOS oppressing systems.  The UI/UX and final app visuals were all tailored specifically for each platform in order to accommodate the various screen sizes and methods of interaction (scroll ball, physical buttons and touch). 



Hand Drawn Elements

The app was designed to feel very tactile.  Eddie Vedder and the band are a big fans of old typewriters, typed and hand written fonts and paper textures so I tried to include as much of it as I could.  

I scanned in old Pearl Jam album covers to get different graphic items as well as various paper textures.  Hand drawn elements like scribbles, lines and some of the icons were done by me.  I sketched them out with with various types of pens and then scanned them into the computer.



Keeping the File Size Small

Because most users of the app had slow download speeds (EDGE or 3G) I had to pay special attention to how I created and compressed the images and slices.  

Items like the poster graphic for the "Tour Dates" were created by layering lots of small graphic files (tape, white border, shadows and then the poster graphic) to create one image.  Layering lots of elements caused more work for the developers, but the long run trade off was worth it.

 We were able to quickly upload new photos after each concert, and then pull down a small jpg for for the poster/photo/setlist and randomly layer elements to make the final product more visually interesting than a flat, square photo.


Web Design for the Small Screen

Since app stores did not exist for Blackberry and Android users, we also set up promotional sites and short codes that recognized what device the user was on (Computer, Blackberry, iPhone or Android phone) and gave them a custom formatted page or download link.