Creative Collaborations: Four brands doing it right

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These days no-one blinks an eye if a Grizzly Bear song is featured in a car ad or if Daft Punk pop up alongside other pop culture heavyweights in a commercial for a popular sports brand, the ad itself, managing to cobble together all of these stars into a George Lucas-approved Star Wars concept.

iTunes’ advert spots from five years ago helped launch the career of Feist and others into the mainstream. Corporate patrons have tangible benefits and many more musicians and artists are increasingly comfortable with corporations and brands funding their creativity. Most collaborations are accepted by fans. The exception to the rule, are venerated rock stars whose fanbases can’t marry the blatant commercialism with supposed legendary punk spirit – see Iggy Pop flouncing around for a car insurance company or John Lydon advertising butter.

Despite the uncomfortable relationship between art and commerce, there has been some great examples recently of engaging online campaigns that straddle both successfully. Here are four:

1) The Creators Project – thecreatorsproject.com

A collaboration between Intel and cool bible Vice, The Creators Project kicked off in NYC last month, calling itself “a completely new kind of arts and culture channel for a completely new kind of world.” Basically, this allows the organisers to get in the coolest bands around (M.I.A, Sleigh Bells, The Rapture, Die Antwoord), revered film directors (hello Spike Jonze), art installations and more. Cram them into large warehouse spaces and you’ve got a hot event taking place in London, Seoul, Sao Paolo over the coming months. Even if you can’t make any of the events, the website has tons of original content to peruse and is genuine in engaging the art side of your brain.
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Band of Blogs: Bingo, Hipster Youth, Maximum Balloon & Magnetic Man

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Bingo
There’s not a whole lot of Irish producers making dubstep-tinged garage and UK funk but 21 year-old Frank Sweeney is one Dubliner impressing with his recent tracks, recalling the likes of Burial, Mount Kimbie; producers at the forefront of future music in the UK.

Hipster Youth
Another young man, this time 19 year-old Aidan Wall, who also records under the moniker Porn On Vinyl, has released his debut album Teenage Elders for free download. It’s filled with bedroom-made lo-fi electronica and chiptune tracks.
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Sites of the Week: Daily Puppy, Playlistify, Love GIFs

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Daily Puppy
The next time your friend is in a bad mood in gChat or fuming online send them this link. Instant cheering up guaranteed.

http://www.dailypuppy.com

Playlistify
Share any playlist from iTunes or many other sources into online playlists for Youtube, Soundcloud, Spotify, Last.FM, Twitter and more.
http://playlistify.org

Love GIFs
An overload of animated images drawn from all types of culture, sport and internet memes.
http://lovegifs.tumblr.com

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A viral too far

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The longest drawn out viral mystery ever produced for the internet, iamamiwhoami, which I wrote about here back in January continues to periodically churn out interesting Youtube music videos without reaching a conclusion.

Originally, the enigmatic productions featuring a blonde woman and lots of vague symbolism was purported to be any one of a range of pop stars and musicians: guesses included Christina Aguilera, Goldfrapp, Lady Gaga, The Knife and Little Boots. None of these were correct and while there is no absolute reveal of the artist in question; many observers (myself included) believe the project is the work of Swedish singer Jonna Lee. The songs featured in the videos have become more memorable while the mystery has all but vanished. A commenter on my site Nialler9.com revealed that the single letter title of the most recent videos spell out ‘B-O-U-N-T-Y’ and that a simple internet domain search on the website iambounty.com reveals that that site is registered to Ms. Lee.

It’s a pity that the viral has dragged on so long, as it has inevitably lost interest of the course of the last seven months. A pity too because the most recent song was actually the best thing I’ve heard from the project. You can see all 12 of the videos here.

Another mystery long-awaiting an answer is “whatever happened to Lauryn Hill?”. The former Fugees singer and solo artist whose The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill album was amongst the best of the ’90s has been absent from music for much of the new century and with gig cancellations, erratic behaviour and stalled recording sessions defining recent years. Hill finally broke the silence last week in an interview with NPR in the US where she talked about the reasons for why she stopped releasing music, her voice and a possible return to the stage. You can hear the whole interview.

Meanwhile, anarchic Photoshop-heavy message board 4Chan devised a cunning plan based around teeny bopper Justin Bieber’s upcoming world tour. Bieber is giving fans around the world an opportunity to decide where he performs. The pranksters at 4Chan have rallied around North Korea as the number one country of choice. The ploy has worked with North Korea at the top spot with over 460,000 votes closely followed by Israel. Somehow, I doubt that Kim Jong Il is the kind of guy who dances on his “ronery” to songs like ‘Baby’ but if he is, and he is truly an internet expert like he claims, then it may be ‘Great Leader’ himself who is doing all the voting.

See the final result.

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