Azealia Banks has released an interactive video, accessible only through Google's Chrome browser (nothing new there; read Anita Elberse's Blockbuster for a detailed study of how Jay Z tied in with Microsoft's search engine Bing), which cuts in footage uploaded by fans/users. Comparable to the interactive Karaoke that is Smule then ... see this post on Jessie J/Smule.
I read about this on the Guardian (its posted on their Tumblr blog, but I saw it through the Guardian Android app - spot the convergence...); if you click through the main link on other browsers you'll get the error message you can see in the above screenshot - you need to open it in Chrome to see it in full, interactive action...
I also have to say ... I haven't heard/seen anything about this since, which seems quite surprising, but also maybe indicates that even the smartest, high-budget, high concept and zeitgeisty ideas don't guarantee success...
Thought I'd better check that, and the video certainly got much wider coverage than a standard promo flick (the interactive site had over 200k hits within a week, while the official Vevo video on YouTube was still at 150k views when I checked today, 12th August 2015, five months on), enticing the likes of business magazine Forbes to run a feature:
what Forbes had to say (notable that they pick up on the discourse around objectification of women, praising this as an alternative):
Last week, rapper and 30 Under 30 honoree Azealia Banks released an interactive video that lets viewers control her movements with a shake of the head. Powered by webcam and watchable on her website, “Wallace” has been viewed some 200,000 times so far.
Not bad for the independent artist who has given up her main promotional outlet – Twitter – for Lent. But it’s more impressive considering the video requires users to visit a site other than YouTube or Vevo, click “allow” and then “play.” Such three step confirmation is enough to inhibit most, but it’s necessary to activate the webcam.
Once your webcam is activated, viewers can move their heads to guide Banks’ movements on screen, using tilts to channel change between six different feeds Banks filmed in advance. Midway through, your webcam feed starts to play in the background behind Banks, including the fan live into the video. Only watchable on Google Chrome, it makes use of Google’s Cloud Platform to host and playback the six videos of Banks.
“I’m such a huge fan of technology and creative new ways of interacting and engaging with fans, so this collaboration was perfect for me,” said Banks, who was the only female on 2014′s Cash Princes list. “I’m thrilled to be part of a potentially groundbreaking new ‘norm’ in the future of making music videos.”
In a time when music videos continue to be tiresomely filled with female objectification and equally prominent product placement, this simple interactive experience is a refreshing change.
“Using people’s heads as a channel changer creates a one-to-one interaction with Azealia – it’s a personal interaction like being online with her and it mimics the call and response within the song,” said Nick Ace, design director at Collins, the New York-based consultancy that produced – and bankrolled – the film.