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Music Sites Get Truly Interactive

An interesting thing has been happening in music of late; artists are beginning to put some serious effort and money into their websites, using them as truly interactive marketing platforms. It makes sense. After all, what is a website but a direct communication channel to fans with 100% creative control for the artist? With clever coding and use of scripts, musicians can develop interesting ways to interact with fans and involve them directly in the music. The pay-off is excited and engaged fans who are only too eager to share the experience with their online and offline social network.

Here are some of our favourite recent examples of artists cleverly making the most of website interactivity:

Robyn     We Dance to the Beat

The Swedish dance-pop artist has caught our eye in the past for her interactive Twitter webvideo and she’s building on the groundwork for her latest release ‘We Dance to the Beat’. An interactive Flash site allows you to create your own unique version of the single by selecting four different beat samples which are automatically mixed and assigned a url which you can share to your Facebook or Twitter.

Duck Sauce    GoBarbra.com

One of the catchiest and just-plain-silliest songs of 2010 came from a powerhouse group of producers, songwriters and performers under the moniker Duck Sauce. An intrepid bunch of Polish developers saw the opportunity to use text-to-speech software and allow people to customise the song with their name and in a variety of accents. They created the site as a marketing tool for themselves not for Duck Sauce, but the huge viral response convinced the artists to approve the site with the addition of an iTunes link at the bottom of the page.

U2    FanCam

Not the first time this has been done, but the best executed we’ve ever seen. The Irish rockers allow fans who attended their concert in Johannesburg, South Africa to tag themselves in an incredible high resolution 360 degree photograph taken at the centre of the concert stadium.

Arcade Fire    The Wilderness Downtown

Named ‘best website of 2010‘ Arcade Fire with the help of Google Creative Labs commissioned a HTML5 site which used mapping technology and complex Javascript to create an interactive film for their song ‘We Used to Wait’.

This is an approach which takes planning, the involvement of technical experts and (by corollary) money. Let’s face it, not every band has the budget of U2 or buddies in Google Creative Labs to help them with an interactive web project. But when it works, boy does it work. The spirit of interactivity is something even the smallest of artists should think about. Your website is your terrain – do something interesting with it to involve your fans and make you stand out from the crowd.