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Spotify - Connecting Cannes through music


Spotify is one of the best-known music services in the world. They deliver unprecedented music experiences tailored to anybody's taste. Their ability to provide spot-on recommendations and give listeners an honest and accurate guide through the music jungle, helping them to find new music, has made their service an indispensable part of people's everyday lives.

At the Cannes Lions festival in 2014 Spotify wanted to showcase an experiment that demonstrated the underlying powers of their systems and simultaneously the connecting power of music. We created a custom ecosystem that let visitors to Cannes Lions select their favourite music track, and from that single track we used the derived data to tell an impressive number of stories back to the users.

First of all we connected each user to other people at Cannes Lions on five levels. Firstly, to all the people that had submitted a song, and then to the featured speakers with similar music tastes. We also showed them which other countries were in sync with their musical tastes - why not apply for a job in Sao Paolo if you and most of Brazil share the same interest in music? Lastly, we showed connections based on profession, letting users know which people to hang out with during the week - maybe planners share your interest in Rihanna or perhaps social peeps are as keen on world music as you are?

To create an up close and personal experience when moving about during the conference, the main way to interact was via the app on your smartphone. There you would select your song and find your personal connections, all through a full-featured web-app that was both quick and intuitive, making best use of Spotify's back-end connections like EchoNest for song data analysis while still delivering a premium mobile design, featuring WebGL content to spice up the experience.

But all of these songs and connections, apart from giving us cool stories to tell, also formed the basis of an interactive installation throughout the festival. We built a set of customised large touch screens at the Palais des Festivals as well as at the Spotify House right on the Croisette. At these screens people were able to sift through all the collected data: songs and connections that were delivered in real time through an inviting touch-navigation model. We showed the data as a beautiful particle cloud that could be interacted with in various ways, as well as filtered and searched to let the users find the most interesting facts around the Cannes crowd's musical interests.

The experience could be accessed by those unlucky souls back at the homestead via a full-feature desktop/tablet application that gave online visitors the chance to interact with the data and explore all these fun and fantastic connections from wherever in the world they happened to be.

Visitors to the site could filter submitted songs by country.
Live data was fed into the site collecting the overall mood and feeling of the people at the location. One mode was visualising and comparing the genres for all submissions.
One of the most interesting filters was of course the one for specific companies and agencies that gave users a collected visualisation of the taste in music among their co-workers.

To top things off we were even able to give the crowd a little visual and statistical treat. Onto the Palais itself we printed a massive banner, 25 x 12 meters, whose minimalistic motion design showcased the most popular tracks. On top of these, we prepared a week-long projection that used the data derived from the backend system to tell specific stories around people, agencies, companies, countries and professions in a fast-paced and fun data visualisation. Every night for six days between dusk and 2 a.m., we, together with Obscura Digital Stockholm, projected onto the Palais using a quadruple set of projectors delivering a 80K lumen projection. Each day of the week had its own theme that visualised the data from different angles and used the submitted songs to draw conclusions about different aspects of the submissions. For example, are delegates from Nigeria more likely to start dancing at the pool party than those from Finland? Is DDB in a better mood than McCann during the Thursday night parties?

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