H&M’s “Fashion Mixer” catalogue turns apparel pieces into music

H&M is now launching a music project in Asia that see’s the brand’s fashion catalogue working as a musical piece.   The project—called fashion mixer—enables consumers to turn apparel pieces into musical sounds and then mix them.  The project is based on H&M’s “Divided” collection, which features clothing for both men and women.  Essentially, each item of the collection has it’s own sound effect ranging from beats to melodies and voices.  Users can add various fashion items by dragging and dropping them onto a special sampler on a mobile device that fuses the sounds to create a one-of-a-kind tune.


Why I am Curious:

It’s interesting to see brands play with the power of music. Some brands are doing it right and some brands haven’t quite figured it out.  I think this project from H&M will be something of interest to their core audience.

Music to Your Inbox!

In an effort to increase increase conversation rates, popular music may soon be making it’s way into your inbox via email marketing campaigns.

DMI Music and Media recently announced a program called Engine 1 that pair majors brands with popular music artists.  The first partner brand is the nutritional supplement maker, Mead Johnson which is testing the program with music from a variety of artists including Bruno Mars. The program aims to leverage music’s emotional impact on people and create brand loyalty.


Here’s a bit on how it works from AdWeek:  

The songs play when recipients click a button within the message. In a preliminary campaign, 75 percent of openers listened to the music, and 43 percent of those that did came back and listened to the music two or more times.

Why I’m Curious:

While this is an interesting idea, I am curious to see how it actually plays out.  Email marketing is very much dependent on getting someone to open the email in the first place. Unless the subject line of the email states that there is music I wonder if anyone will notice (given that they may just delete the email).  Also, given that music rights are so pricey to obtain, I wonder what the ROI will really be when all is said and done.

MTV Allows Fans to Unlock Miley

This past week MTV aired Miley: The Movement, a documentary on Miley Cyrus.  Following the premiere, the network encouraged fans to tweet using the hashtag #Unlock Miley.  When fans tweeted enough with the hashtag, two exclusive videos would be unlocked.


From Mashable:

If her rabid fans — dubbed “Smilers” — post enough Twitter messages with the hashtag #UnlockMiley, they will unlock two videos that can be viewed only on MTV’s iOS app. MTV launched the #UnlockMiley challenge immediately after the documentary aired. The bonus footage (one involves her conversation with Britney Spears) will eventually also appear in the 90-minute deluxe edition of Miley: The Movement, which will air on Oct. 6 at 8 p.m. ET.

Why I’m Curious:

MTV drove increased interest in their documentary by creating a post- “event” experience. Providing fans with additional content (and a site that tracks their collective progress) continues the conversation in the social space post the premiere date.  MTV also positions themselves as fan advocates, giving Miley’s fans what they want – more Miley. I’m curious to see how this resonates with her fans and if it translates into increased awareness/TV ratings.

Arcade Fire’s Google Chrome-Powered Music Video

For their new “Just a Reflektor” video, Arcade Fire uses Google Chrome technology to let you interact with the music video on your smartphone.

First you must connect to the Just a Reflektor site on your desktop then follow the instructions on how to connect your phone. The project links your computer to your smartphone through a webcam, turning your phone into a visual effects controller with halos, reflections and wireframes in the video adapting to every movement.

Additionally, this project is open source so users can play with the web code (primarily JavaScript and WebGL) to build their own customized experience.

Why I’m Curious

Instead of going with a traditional approach to sharing a music video, I appreciate that the band has created an interactive user experience with their content. It’s a neat application of Chrome technology that we haven’t seen music artists use quite like this. Although it might realistically be annoying to hold up your phone to your webcam while the whole video plays, the project has a personalized element in that it adapts to your movements. That and the fact that it’s open source are enough to attract existing and prospective fans’ attention.

Twitter Launches Twitter #music


Twitter #music is a free app that uses Twitter activity, including Tweets and engagement, to detect and surface the most popular tracks and emerging artists. The app also has a ‘Suggested’ page, which allows users to search for music from their favorite artists. The intention is to use this as a music discovery source instead of a platform just to stream music on.

As of today, the app is available for iOS and will be released in a Web version, no word on an Android version.

Article via Mashable

Why I’m Curious

It seems as if we are flooded with music sharing and discovery platforms already (Pandora, Spotify, Rdio…), what makes this different from the others? Will it be successful?

A Great Big World Leverages Fan Relationships To Create Newest Video

I’m loving this new music video ‘This is the New Year’ by A Great Big World. It’s a video created from all their fan tweets. It does an amazing job of repurposing social visual content to connect with fans. This band recognizes and rewards their fans by pulling fans’ lyric tweets into the video. It used to be that you recorded an album, released a track, took it radio and prayed that it got played and picked up and became a hit. Not anymore. This band was unsigned when they were featured on Glee this season and featured on the Golf Channel. Their audience is growing with them in large part because of their forward-thinking approach to getting fans excited about their music through social media.

They’re making 30 Videos in 30 Days – with a new performance video every Friday speaking to their fans. Their social media presence isn’t huge across TumblrTwitterFacebookSoundcloudYouTube, etc. but they are building and also had a successful Kickstarter last year. They’re headed on tour with another social media music up and comer this spring – Julia Nunes.

Why I’m Curious
I believe fan engagement – for brands, music, anything with a heartbeat – is ever-evolving. It’s disruptive to have a band become a big deal without a big label and the machine behind them. What can that mean for other forms of entertainment or new brands across industries? What is already happening in other spaces that brands should pay attention to. What comes next?

Twitter Launches Music App

Photo filters? We got that. Vine videos? We got that, too. Engaged conversations? We do it in 140 characters. Music? Get ready to rock!
Twitter is expected to launch its standalone music app today. We Are Hunted, a social music start-up site, confirmed the rumors and told its fans that they have been acquired by Twitter. The music app will suggest tracks based on data collected from the users’ accounts, including accounts they follow. The app allows users to listen to music using third-party services like iTunes and soundcloud, along with videos provided by Vevo.twitter-itunes


Why I’m Curious:

I’m curious for two reasons: As Twitter becomes an full-media platform, will clients start to understand its potential and reach? Also, will this music app drive more sales for the music industry, since people can view what their friends like, listen to a clip, and buy it? It works for Spotify and Facebook.

Shazam Can Now Identify Clothing

Shazam, an app designed to identify songs by listening to them, will now be able to ID clothing seen on television. It would capture the outfit on the screen and direct the user to a site for purchase.

Street Fashion - Day 1 - Spring 2012 New York Fashion Week


Why I’m Curious: I am a big Shazam user. Blame it on my hometown radio DJ for not doing a good job of identifying songs while I recorded them to my mixtape or the age I grew up in when the car dashboard didn’t display the artist and song title. I blame these reasons for why I have no mental database of song titles and artists, which is why Shazam is my best friend. Now pair my need to identify music with my love of all things fashion and you have revolutionized my world, yet again. I’m curious to see if this would help boost retail sales by providing this knowledge, like it does with music purchases. I think every girl has been waiting for an app that is able to identify clothing on the streets, but TV is a great place to start. Celebrity style is becoming more accessible and affordable so it makes sense that there would be a large audience interested. It would also save time trying to search for a similar item online. If they ever come up with an app that identifies “street style” and saves you that awkward moment of having to stop them and ask where they got it, you will have made many wishes come true. However, doesn’t everyone secretly love the positive recognition of their personal style? (They do.)

A violin made of lasers

Technology lecturer Dylan Menzies doesn’t play the violin in the traditional sense. Instead he uses software and lasers to translate the positioning, speed and motion of a traditional wooden bow into music.

Why I’m Curious

Is technology going to change the way that we approach traditional music-making? Will the skills that so many have acquired fall by the wayside because we can make the same, if not better music, through technology?

Mood Determines Headphones’ Music Selection

neurowear-mico-drawingNeurowear unveiled a new type of headphones named ‘Mico‘ at SXSW. They headphones play music based on your mood, and select songs from a database to complement how you are feeling. Mico connects to your iPhone through Bluetooth and picks songs that have been “neuro-tagged” using a special music app.

Why I’m Curious: This is a new take on music discovery that takes away some of the hassle from users (no need to pick your favorite artists/genres). While Mico can’t compete with the elaborate database of a Pandora or Spotify, I do think that sorting content by emotion is something that can apply to many fields — from food/recipes to shoes.

360 Degree Live Sound Experience


Leave it to Beck to not only re-imagine David Bowie’s “Sound and Vision,” but to also transform the way audiences can experience musical performances online. Beck has partnered with music video director Chris Milk to create “Hello, Again” — allowing users to view his performance from every angle using a variety of lenses, viewpoints and microphones. The digital experience was created by capturing the concert with 360° binaural microphones (for a closer look at how the technology works, check out Wired’s writeup). Users control what’s on screen with a webcam, which monitors where they are looking to adapt the experience.

Why I’m Curious: While there is significant load time for both the standard and high-def experience, Lincoln and Beck are bringing you something you can’t even get if you were at the show. As opposed to Amex’s Unstaged (which arguably provides an inferior experience to what Cardmembers are viewing), this totally immersive experience lets users witness the show from any seat, hear distinct sound origins and even experience what Beck hears.

Synchronized Porta-Potties Create Music When in Use

Personal, a mobile company in Argentina, organizes a 50,000+ person music festival each year called ‘Personal Fest.’ This year, they partnered with agency TBWA Buenos Aires to transform the portable toilets from a neglected part of the event into a more enjoyable experience. They ‘hacked’ them with some electronics and pots of colorful paint to create ‘Rhythmical Potties’. These seven brightly-colored toilets each played a different sound, and they lit up and made music only when they were occupied.

Why I’m Curious: Creative forms of culture hacking always pique my interest. I am quite honestly amazed that people were able to transform these often-loathed, horrendous smelling experiences into a fun, musical celebration (tying back beautifully to the brand of the festival). By creating a kind of interactive installation, these people were able to take a universally boring activity of going to the bathroom and turn it into a musical art form. Genius.

Music discovery on Spotify gets personal

A new section, which Spotify is labeling “DISCOVER,” surfaces content such as songs, playlists, and live-performance videos that Spotify users haven’t discovered yet but which they may like based on their past listening habits. The section is laid out in a visual-driven experience incorporating images and videos in a big-tile grid that has some traces of Pinterest.

Why I am Curious

  • The functionality is not new, but it is now offered by the platform that most music enthusiasts have chosen to use.
  • It’s like “behavioral targeting” 2.0. Leverages users’ self-selected actions (= opt-ins) to deliver what’s relevant for them (which could be even more powerful if combined with methodologies like Pandora’s Music Genome Project, vs. machine-listening or other forms of automated data extraction).
  • It offers “another new canvas for us to look at the right way for brands to participate in the music experience” (Spotify Chief Advertising Officer Jeff Levick, Thurs 12/6/12).
  • It’s about things people want to do/enjoy (vs. what we want them to do): “Fits in nicely with the move in the digital-media industry to create new types of ad formats that rise above the banner ad” (AdAge).

Grab a Digital Song Simply by Holding Your Phone to The Sky

– Jordan

From Creativity-Online:

With AirFranceMusic, a music app designed by BETC for the French airline, users can listen to selected tracks simply by lifting their iPhone to the sky. The phone will automatically add the songs onto its playlist. The idea is that those on the ground can listen to the same selections as those on the planes, and the more you travel, the more you collect; the tracks available in the sky change depending on the country the user is in. Users can also test their musical knowledge and win prizes by finding hidden games in the sky.

Why I’m curious:

The most interesting thing to me about this app is that there is a required action by the user that essentially does nothing, but by doing this action the app can essentially create a different experience for the user. In this particular app the technology is tricking you in a way to have the experience simulate receiving a song fromt he sky, when in reality it is doing no such thing. By telling a consumer that the app is pulling in songs from the sky changes the users experience. I think that there will be a lot more of these types of mental shifts as digital and physical are merging. One cool example of this is this futuristic ATM that shows the money digitally going from the digital realm to the physical world, this example changes the users experience.

Beck Redefines the Album Release

To release his new album, the artist Beck has chosen to use one of the most traditional forms there is: sheet music. That’s right: no mp3 files or physical CD. Rather, twenty new songs never released or recorded will be bound in a hardcover book featuring full color illustrations. Songreader is an invitation to fans to play, record and capture his music.

Why I’m Curious:

We’ve seen a number of musicians use digital in innovative ways to launch their records or reward their fans. This tactic implores the user to use increasingly creative and digital means to get the music. Beck fans will no doubt create videos, take photos, join communities, tweet, and more — creating content on a scale beyond what Beck alone could produce. And they’ll have a physical object more meaningful than any piece of plastic.

Music Videos Inspired and Created by Fans

– Jordan

Continuing the latest in crowdsourcing comes the crowdsourced music video. Both Ellie Gouldin and Jason Mraz are getting their fans involved by getting them to create the content for their new music videos.

Ellie has used Instagram to collect a series of photographs with the direction that fans submit photos that depict a word or lyrics from the song. (Mashable)

Jason has turned to twitter to get fans to tweet using the hashtag #mrazingthevideo. Jason will choose his favorite video ideas and then pass them on to his director to incorporate into the video. (jasonmraz.com)

Why I’m curious:

Although they are similar ideas I like the specific use of different platforms for their crowdsourced inspiration. I am curious to see which ones fans like better as one uses actual user submission and another is simply an interpretation of the idea.

London train service offers free custom music for the trip to Gatwick Airport

Via Springwise:

The Gatwick Express train travels nonstop between London’s Victoria Station and Gatwick Airport in what is roughly a 30-minute trip. Now, offered exclusively to customers who buy their tickets online, the free Gatwick Express Tracks include three custom-recorded musical interpretations of the journey from recording artists Philip Sheppard, Benga, and The Milk.

Why I’m Curious:
Arguably the worst part of commuting is the mundanity of sitting without stimuli. What the Gatwick Express has done is made the trip more enjoyable for its online consumers by offering music downloads — something that makes a trip go by much faster. For travel and transportation brands, this add-on is a relatively small cost to potentially improve the worst part of the experience.

Passion Pit’s new app gives fans interactive experiences with songs

From The Creators Project:

Passion Pit released a new “app EP” yesterday, the Passion Pit Gossamer app, which features four different interactive experiences for the songs “Take A Walk” and “Carried Away.” Developed by interactive artist Scott Snibbe and his studio (whose work you may remember from Björk’s Biophilia app album), the project serves as further proof that mobile apps are gaining traction in the music world as the kind of album supplement artsy limited-edition CD packages and high budget music videos used to dominate.

Why I’m curious:

Brands don’t always have to create the experience for the consumer — instead, give the consumer tools to create their own experience. This is yet another example of how consumer experiences are no longer just about consumption but about participation. Rather than listening to music, then listening and watching a music video, it’s about playing with the artist’s project in different ways and sharing it with your own network. Passion Pit has already made sure it’s visually and aurally cool, and now it’s time for us to put our touchscreens to work to remix it.

Musicplayr Sparks Unified Listening

Socializing music is hardly a new topic for the digital landscape. However, a tool in beta called Musicplayr, puts a new spin on how users enjoy their tunes by creating “unified listening,” as its founders Thorsten Luettger and Stefan Vosskoetter say. This service merges certain features of various music platforms like Spotify and Last.fm in efforts to allow users to make playlists from music scattered all over the Internet.

It’s simple: you can link any music you find on the Internet to playlists which can be private or public to be shared with other users. Musicplayr accepts links from platforms like YouTubeSoundCloudVimeo and DailyMotion, links from music blogs and MP3s uploaded by users.

According to Silicon Allee, all the music you gather is accessible from one place, and just hitting play will allow you to listen to a continuous stream of songs from a variety of platforms, with the ability to skip forward and back, pause and repeat. The other way to use Musicplayr is in discovery mode – by ‘following’ other users you can create a stream of new music straight to your computer as they link songs to their own playlists.

The advantage that Musicplayr has over other discovery platforms is that recommendations come directly from humans, not algorithms. And that means it’s curated by humans – you can choose which songs you share and which ones you don’t.

Why I’m Curious: My eclectic music taste piques my curiosity for a tool of this nature. I’ve spent hours making my own lists of various links I’d like to listen to before, and now Musicplayr does all the hard work for me. I also really believe there may be an opportunity for brands to leverage this for consumers, especially with the “follow” feature. Various brands, particularly in the entertainment sector, may use this platform to integrate within certain campaigns and artistically identify their brand by the links they share.

Self-Playing Piano Takes Requests Via Twitter

Meet Stanley, an interactive piano who takes song requests via tweets to @stanleypiano. Created for Seattle’s Capitol Hill Block Party, the interactive piano knows at least one song from each of the 100+ bands and DJs playing at the festival and can ‘learn’ others too. Stanford, a custom moderation tool, filters the requests and puts the songs into a queue.  Songs get called from a pre-loaded MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) and Stanley starts to play. The person who requested the song is notified automatically with an @reply when their song is next.

Why I’m Curious: We’ve seen brands from Nike to Mercedes-Benz use Twitter to provide a utility for consumers. But it’s nice to see a use of Twitter that instills a sense of joy and wonder for people. Music is clearly a universal entity with mass appeal, but I think brands could use other objects that we’ve been conditioned to experience in a particular way and reinvent the experience with user interaction.