Music and Interactive Media – Examples from Groningen/Eurosonic Noorderslag

One of the reasons why the meeting at Groningen proved important in terms of the overall purposes of the project is that here, the relationship between music and new/interactive media gained more emphasis than during our previous Leonardo meetings. This is in part thanks our hosts Ard Boer and Eva van Netten and New Music Labs – a very exciting, dynamic enterprise developing interactive digital solutions for a variety of music projects, located in a pleasant office on Brugstraat whose interior attests to creativity and subcultural credibility (see photos). (As an aside: walking in Groningen, I was struck by the multiplicity of small galleries, busy workshops, (sub)cultural venues and stores, indicative of the amount of creative activity in the city.)

Eurosonic Noorderslag (as is mentioned in Ann Branch’s talk) also devoted a lot of time and space to the digital shift, framing it more in terms of opportunities and creative solutions than challenges. We heard presentations about the new, and already hugely popular French on-demand music streaming service, Deezer (also available in Hungary, as opposed to, for instance, Spotify, along with 160 countries worldwide – but not yet in the US). Another exciting service that I had not heard about previously is 22tracks – which is also streaming site, but based on selected DJs curating 22 songs according to 22 different genres, in different locations, such as London, Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels. The idea is that individual curation can act as a guide amongst the vast amount of music online. Furthermore, the individual tastes of the DJs are also supposed to represent the given city, the local character, as well as a particular genre.

Ard also introduced his own app, Giglocker:

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However, the main excitement was the Interactive Awards panel and ceremony the next day, where Ard won the Artist award with his fabulous augmented reality app for the band BLØF.

Here is Ard explaining augmented reality during the interrogation phase:

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And demonstrating how it works:

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Congratulations, Ard!

The Company award was won by the equally fascinating Vyclone – a social video platform that enables members of an audience (or any people gathered within the same space) to upload their iPhone/iPad video footage, which material will then be edited together automatically and the end result published on the website. The platform is based on the idea of Joe Sumner (you can read about it here), and has already been used by such artists as Madonna, Ed Sheeran, Mumford and Sons and Alice Cooper. It appears to be a wonderful way of conjoining fans and artists within the creative process, illustrating the overall trend of consumers becoming active producers through via interactive online media. It also makes use of a vast amount of fan material that exists out there anyway, and would otherwise remain marginal. Lastly, there are great possibilities in applying the editing algorithm within a variety of fields. 

The online platform of Eurosonic Noorderslag itself provided a good example of interacivity, with the possibility of personalising the programme. Also, our wristbands containted a chip that was scanned during the evening gigs when we entered and left a venue. Based on this information, the following morning we received a personalised email notification containing the list of gigs we had attended, which was indeed really handy (the idea is thus similar to Giglocker). Moreover, you were also able to scan your wristband at panels in order to get additional materials emailed to you (slides, links), where it was available.

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