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OK Go Lets Fans Participate with New Interactive Music Video

A short while back, I talked about the beginnings of a new type of music video: the interactive music video. If you have yet to experience one of these marvelous little feats of creativity, you’re in for a treat, because everyone’s favorite treadmill enthusiasts (OK Go) have just released another sure-to-be-viral music number, and this time, they’re letting the fans participate in the choreographed shenanigans.

What will technology bring us NEXT?

Earlier this year, Arcade Fire brought the concept of the interactive music video to public consciousness with their HTML5-based website The Wilderness Downtown. The site (which requires Google Chrome to view) has one purpose: to showcase the video for “We Used to Wait,” a song from the band’s most recent album. At the main page, viewers are prompted to enter the address of their childhood home. When the video plays, the site pulls satellite imagery of the address (directly from Google Maps and Google Earth) and incorporates it seamlessly into the playback. It’s an intensely personal viewing experience, and it’s hard not to be impressed while watching it all unfold.

Click to enlarge.

Looking to infuse their latest video with a similarly immersive quality, alt rockers OK Go have decided to give interactive entertainment a “go.” They’ve created a website just for their song “All Is Not Lost.” The site, allisnotlo.st, works similarly to how Wilderness works, except that instead of an address, viewers are asked to type a written message on the main page, which the band members dance out during the video playback. The site uses multiple browser windows in unison, each serving a specific purpose and adding to the overall presentation.

The presentation, of course, is what’s truly memorable about the video. Sure, the song is catchy, and sure, the band does a great job of making the choreography feel unique, but seeing the band bring your words to life on the screen is what makes this music video an experience in and of itself. And as with any other modern example of technological innovation, you may just have to see it for yourself to understand the appeal.

For example, if a visitor to the site were to type a random message like “Endless Happy You Enjoy” into the text box on the main page before playing the video, this is what the video will look like:

Go ahead and try it out for yourself. We know you want to!

Concerts are cool, but...

When you think about it, the idea of an interactive video is somewhat ingenious. Traditional music videos are great and all, and concerts certainly give us the opportunity to experience an artist’s work in a more direct way, but traditional videos and concerts are designed with mass consumption in mind. Interactive music videos, on the other hand, are meant to be personal. In the case of “All Is Not Lost,” the goal is to bring the viewer’s personal message to vibrant life—right on the screen. It succeeds in doing that, but more importantly, it succeeds in making the viewer feel (to an extent) like they’ve crafted part of the video themselves. Say what you will about OK Go, but this puts them a step ahead of their contemporaries on the visual front.

The only drawback? The site for the video is built exclusively in HTML5, which means you’ll need to install Google Chrome on your computer to actually participate in it. You can check out a pre-rendered version on OK Go’s official YouTube channel to get a feel for it, but if you want the full effect, you’ll need Chrome.

Firefox doesn't always cut it.

Personalized music videos are a relatively new phenomenon, and given their reliance on newer forms of browsing technology, it’s no wonder that most people still aren’t aware of them—most people simply can’t view them in the first place. Google Chrome has been available for a few years now (and it’s been more and more popular of late), but it’s still a statistical second to Mozilla’s Firefox, with 42.2% of internet users preferring Firefox and 27.9% opting to use Chrome. And sadly, most interactive videos can’t be viewed with Firefox. As Chrome and other HTML5-compliant browsers become more widely used, we’ll undoubtedly see more interactive videos pop up on the net, and with more frequency. But for now, we’ll just have to make do with what we’ve got. Fortunately, bands like OK Go are around to ensure that we’ve got quite a bit.

What do you think of the video for “All Is Not Lost”? Is it cutting edge or is it just gimmickery? Share your thoughts below.

Image by: marfis75



Joseph Giorgi

Joseph is the head of the Media Team at Quality Logo Products. He's a video specialist, blogger, perfectionist, and all-around likeable guy. When he's not busy focusing on the nitty-gritty details of his written and visual work, he's normally listening to bad 80s music and scouring the internet for useless information on useless subjects. You can also connect with Joe on Google+.

Comments

  1. Mandy Kilinskis

    Wow, that was seriously cool. It figures that Ok Go would be one of the first bands to launch an interactive music video. I can imagine videos like this really hitting it off in the next few years. I’d like to see something like “Choose Your Own Adventure” in music video format.

    And nice random message, Joe. :)

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Oh heck yeah, a “choose your own adventure” type of music video would be pretty groundbreaking. I’d imagine we’ll see one pretty soon.

      Figured you might like the random message. :)

    • Amanda

      I agree Mandy! Seriously cool for sure!!

      Thanks for showing us this Joe! =)

  2. amy

    Thank God we have you Joe to keep us up-to-date on all the new technology!! I had no idea this was coming out, it does sound really cool. I’m an avid user of Firefox, so the idea of switching over to Chrome doesn’t excite me too much to watch a personalized music video. If I already used it though and knew how to work it, I’d check it out.

    • amy

      Strike that last comment, Chrome is actually super easy to figure out LOL

      The video is really cool and very powerful! I won’t give away anything, but it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. WOW!

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Hah! Yeah, that’s me: always up to date. :)

      I’m a Firefox enthusiast myself, but I’m sure I’ll make the jump over to Chrome eventually. Videos like this just give me the incentive to do it sooner rather than later.

  3. Jana Quinn

    This is a really interesting marketing approach. Nice find, Joe!

    I think that finding a band (or any other entertainment) that really speaks very specifically to your experiences can be difficult. After all, musicians must market their messages on being more universal (more fans, more sales, etc.), so while you may be able to relate to a break-up song or something about losing your woman/truck/dog, they’re not terribly specific. Interactive components like this – where the listener/consumer supplies some of the content – can really strike an emotional chord. Fascinating take…

    • Joseph Giorgi

      I think it’s inevitable that we’ll be seeing more videos like this in years to come, and for the reasons you mention. But if you like THIS video, then you’ll LOVE the Arcade Fire video at thewildernessdowntown.com.

    • Amanda

      I agree! Being able to interact and add content to a video is really something else!

      “woman/truck/dog” Nice Jana. lol.

  4. Vern-Matic

    I think it is a little bit of both gimmick and cutting edge. In the sense that for its niche it is a gimmick… Slightly mind you, but in the same breath I can say that it is cutting edge for what essentially is a music video. My question is which creative team went to who? Google going to the music industry trying to get a firmer foot hold in the web browser field. Or the music industry going to Google looking for ways to try and sell music to try and stop piracy?

    • Joseph Giorgi

      THAT is an excellent question, sir!

      I’ll bet that it was OK Go who wanted to venture into new (interactive) territory with the video, but that’s just my guess. After seeing the success of Arcade Fire’s “Wilderness Downtown” project, how could any band NOT want to give an HTML5 video a shot?

  5. Jill Tooley

    I loved this video – another nice contribution from OK Go! First Arcade Fire and now them…maybe this will start a trend in the industry. Looking forward to seeing what else bands come up with!

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