With so much noise out there in the musical sphere, it is no longer enough for established artists to stick with the traditional routes of promotion when they have a new album to sell. New ways of promo have expanded to include free downloads, album streams, a Youtube video and even giving away albums with newspapers. But if everyone else is doing it too, it becomes more difficult to stand out as new campaigns from Danger Mouse and Moby aim to address.
Chris Milk is the music video director responsible for Arcade Fire’s impressive interactive film for We Used To Wait (thewildernessdowntown.com). A fullscreen, multi-screen experience which is a mashup of traditional video footage, the latest web technology and computer graphics, each viewing is unique as it uses Google Maps and Street View data prompted by the user.
Milk was at the helm for an interactive music video for Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi’s album Rome (Play with it at www.ro.me). The film, entitled 3 Dreams Of Black soundtracks the song ‘Black’ which features Norah Jones. Taking its cue from the title of the song, the narrative plunges into dreamscapes. It starts with traditional video and hand-drawn animated paintings before launching into three dimensional graphical landscapes featuring a mountain scene, a desert landscape, deer, buffalo, birds that follow the user’s control and “soup” that covers the city you are driving through with green pixelated goo. At all times, you can rotate the view in the browser to see more of the environment meaning you never get the same experience twice.
The film points the way towards the future with its use of WebGL, a relatively new technology for the web browser that allows it to render 3D computer graphics in real-time. It currently works best in Google’s Chrome browser. The experience doesn’t end there though, as Milk and co. have posted up the entire codebase from the project as an open source download meaning that others can start to build upon their impressive project. Not bad work for a promo music video.
Enter Moby, who released a new album called Destroyed last week which the musician calls “a soundtrack for empty cities at 2AM”. The release is accompanied by a separate book of photography. The website for the album stream (destroyed.moby.com) takes the dual music and photography concept to a logical and savvy web conclusion. As you listen to the album, you can browse photos taken by Moby pinpointed on a map in the places they were taken along with descriptions. As well as Moby’s photos, users of the uber-cool iPhone photo sharing network Instagram can tag their photos to a place on the map, creating an interactive collaborative mashup that doubles as fine promotion of his Moby’s new album. I’ve streamed his album twice while exploring the photos and I probably wouldn’t have listened to it otherwise, and it’s quite good as it turns out.
Both of these examples hook you in with technology, yet the music still manages to make a big impression. Proof that in all this modern noise, you need to do more than shout to get noticed.