So anyone not living under a rock for the past few years has become privy to the internet phenom of the flashmob.Â A flashmob is typically a highly choreographed, large group of people all participating in what Wikipedia refers to as "an unusual and pointless act for a brief time, then disperse."Â What most folks haven't yet seen or been in the midst of is a musical flash mob.Â Now, I am not talking about the flash concerts of the mid 2000's whereby the likes of PINK would find a stealthy space to hold a show then text message a few hundred people the location and time and watch human nature take over with populating a few thousand people into an ally for the free show.Â I'm talking about a flash mob musical event.Â A crowd of people surrounded by and containing musicians with the intent of creating a random act of music- then moving on. Below is a prime example of this type of event: "The Sound of Music" flashmob filmed in Antwerp, Germany last year.
This subject was brought up today on NPR's music blog and within a few hours I had received other email links taking me to these and other flash musical events. While these events may not be worth-while in the classic sense of the music business and our revenue-centric approach to music at large, they certainly make for good social media fodder.Â As some of these groups have absolutely nothing to gain other than the momentary notoriety of a youtube viral sensation, others are going to naturally capitalize on these events as the real marketing tool they are.Â One such group, the Philadelphia Opera is a prime example of using spectacle to fill seats.
Below is their "Hallelujah" performance at a Philly Macy's-Â talk about generating some online chutzpah.
Another example of a more formalized sit-down flash concert features Music City's own Futureman (of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones) giving a concert of his Black Mozart Ensemble in Louisville.
Now the final act of this three paragraph diatribe is where we discuss the obvious... these are all performing arts-centric uses... will this approach do anything in the realm of popular music? I frankly don't know. Â One example of the Musical Flash Mob for the Rock/Pop set can be found in the LA Band "Imperial Stars." They unveiled their new single "Traffic Jam" on the 101 freeway last month. They were subsequently arrested and definately made the news (perhaps not for all the right reasons). So in the end... for them, was this simply a cheap media stunt? Perhaps. Smart marketing? - well, I bought the single just to see who they were... (btw- save your $0.99)
If anyone has any other examples of this type of Musical Flash Mob, I would love to see videos/hear your comments. I think this is quite the interesting phenomenon. Yet a new way to harness our audiences with interactive entertainment, which just might translate into more album/ticket sales.