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YouTube Commenters And Music Artists Collaborated In Real Time [video]

A campaign with HP and an up-and-coming rap artist proves that YouTube comments can be constructive after all.

Rachel Pincus
Rachel Pincus on December 9, 2013.

On November 18th and 19th, YouTube users gathered around the creative efforts of two young musicians: producer Clams Casino (AKA Mike Volpe) and hip-hop artist Vic Mensa. Behind the scenes were HP (promoting a new hybrid tablet and laptop called the Split) and agency 180 LA. With the help of a host who appeared from noon to 5pm each day, they were writing a song with the help of a group usually known for its combativeness – YouTube commenters. Though thousands of young musicians upload work to YouTube every day for it to go unnoticed, the host asked questions like “We want to create a music bed. What kind of music bed should it be?” that kept commenters engaged with the work of the artist and producer. Eventually, a catchy song called “Egyptian Cotton” emerged after a commenter wrote that  “to the moon, now take us to ancient Egypt.” Volpe and Mensa came up with three more songs after that, an unexpected windfall considering that they were only expected to write one.

Advertisers are slowly figuring out how millenials communicate, and watching their learning process, as with this HP project, is just as interesting as the result will ever be. The influence of traditional one-way methods is so lost on millenials that 180′s chief creative officer, William Gelner, referred to it by the microscopic-sounding term “messaging”: “We knew that if we were going to make HP relevant to this crowd we needed to behave the way they behave, to do something to prove we weren’t just going to message them,” he told Fast Company. It’s a lesson that bodes well for content creators and advertisers alike.

Despite how technology has made it so much easier it is to create content like music now than at any other time in human history, it doesn’t mean that lone content creators – or inexperienced social ones – have the persistence to see work fully realized.  The bandwidth-intensive aspects of music and video production also mean that their social qualities often remain restricted to post-production. The visual spectacle of Clams Casino and Vic Mensa’s collaboration, with its renderings of comments and phrases on the walls, also helped make it a success – one that was almost too large for YouTube: the site went down for 20 minutes early on, and the project may have been at least partly responsible, with 4,000 simultaneous commenters at its peak. “I think we had too many people trying to watch this live event at the same time,” Gelner told Fast Company. “We just embraced those types of things. There were comments from people going, ‘OMG, did we break YouTube’? When we went live again, we painted those comments on the walls.” What you see below may be the future of creativity on the web.

HP Split // 180 LA

Source and Image: Fast Company

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