Music Experiment 2.0 Brings Disclosure Fans to Free Show Through Social Media
The British electronic duo will play an interactive, social media powered show tonight at the Boston Center for the Arts’ Cyclorama.
There is an unspoken rule among concert-goers of the millennial generation: post it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Vine—or it never happened.
This generation’s attachment to social media forms the basis of Music Experiment 2.0, a music series created by MTV Iggy and Intel that connects emerging artists with fans by awarding them with free tickets to themed shows in exchange for social media interactions with the brands.
Tonight, the series makes a stop in Boston, where British electronic duo Disclosure will headline a show for 600 to 700 fans at Boston Center for the Arts’ Cyclorama, all of whom won tickets by completing challenges on the series’ website.
“We were going after a really specific audience that we call ‘Paulo,’ which is a persona that we assigned to a pretty progressive millennial audience—people who are early to adopt new technology and refresh fairly consistently,” said David Veneski, the U.S. media director for Intel. “It’s a program that shows the value of technology to this key audience through a fun execution—a secret concert that travels across the United States.”
The series kicked off last year, with Of Monsters and Men—then an emerging act—headlining a 1920s-1930s circus themed show in New York City, followed by subsequent shows by different artists in Chapel Hill, N.C.; Portland, Ore.; and Los Angeles. This year, the series kicked off in New York City with headliners Empire of the Sun, but is also expanding into other major cities including Boston.
“It’s a really progressive town when it comes to music and, obviously, with the number of universities that are in and around Boston, it’s an area rich with the audience that we’re going after,” said Veneski.
In Boston, MTV Iggy and Intel selected the Cyclorama to house the event—a unique venue they believed to be well-suited for the “White Noise” theme of the Disclosure show.
As they did with Of Monsters and Men, they wanted to select an up-and-coming artist with a strong social media presence for the Boston show and for Disclosure, who had just released their debut album Settle in May, which has been topping the charts in the U.K. and Australia and has started to create a buzz in the U.S. They seemed like the perfect fit.
“EDM is pretty hot right now and Disclosure does a great job of coupling current electronic dance music with older house music,” said Veneski.
Appropriately, Disclosure, made up of the Lawrence brothers—22-year-old Guy and 19-year-old Howard—began their music career on social media, uploading early material to MySpace.
“We didn’t take it particularly seriously at the start. We were just doing it for fun because we wanted to make music,” said Howard in a phone interview earlier this week. “We didn’t think it was going to turn into a career, but slowly we just had less and less time to do anything else.”
Guy and Howard—who describe themselves as “more like mates than brothers”—belong to the same generation as their fans, and while some artists often ask concert-goers to put away their phones, they see no problem with it.
“People can do what they like. If they’re taking photos and it’s pissing other people off and distracting them, then that’s an issue. You should be considerate of each other and aware of other people around you,” said Guy. “But I think sometimes when the whole crowd takes out their phones and they’re all flashing, it looks amazing. I’ve got some great photos on my phone of the crowd and it’s all lit up and looks really cool.”
That kind of attitude toward technology and social media is what MTV Iggy and Intel are trying to cultivate with the Music Experiment series.
“Social media is inherently important to extending our brand message and extending the experience above and beyond the small number of people who actually get to participate. We ask people not to put their phones away. We ask them to share,” said Veneski. “We want them to be able to experience the moment, but also be able to experience it outside. You can always go back and look at your Instagram or Twitter feed and remember a great night—and we want you to remember that great night that was brought to you by Intel.”
But of course, Disclosure still wants the audience to take in and enjoy the live music. They pride themselves in writing, mixing, and producing all of their music themselves—preferring a do-it-yourself approach “as opposed to a lot of pop music nowadays,” said Guy—and unlike some electronic acts, they emphasize the presence of real instruments in their live shows.
“We play instruments. There’s elements of DJing, but mainly it’s about the playing,” said Guy. “We try to play the most interesting parts of the songs live and leave the boring bits to play in the background.”
Their show for the Music Experiment in Boston will feature more than just music—fans are encouraged to arrive dressed in all black and paint their faces with white glowing paint and to enjoy various interactive elements, the details of which Guy and Howard weren’t too familiar with.
Meanwhile, Veneski was hesitant on giving out any details so that he wouldn’t spoil anything for those attending.
But he did discuss one interactive element of the show—a live stream that will make the show available to watch from home. A five-camera stream will be accessible through a Windows 8 application, which will allow users to choose a preferred angle and enjoy a two-screen experience if they own an Ultrabook and a TV that can run WiDi, Intel’s wireless display technology, or a less interactive three-camera stream on the Music Experiment website.
Home viewers will also be projected onto a screen at the venue if they enable their webcams, a feature that got a great reaction at the Empire of the Sun show, for which fans at home dressed up according to the theme at the venue.
And, of course, audience members at the venue will be encouraged to document their experience through posts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, and Pinterest, as well as look through other users’ posts after the show with the #musicexperiment hashtag.
“If you go to a concert these days, it’s almost like the iPhone is this generation’s lighter,” said Veneski. “You can encourage the audience to put their phones away, but nine times out of 10 they’re just going to continue to use it, so we want to not stifle that enthusiasm.”
The live stream of tonight’s show at the Cyclorama will be available at 11 p.m. on musicexperiment.com.