Take today’s hottest music acts, pair them with successful directors, and give them the tools to create concert experiences that can be enjoyed even by people who didn’t score tickets to the shows. That’s what American Express has been doing with its Unstaged initiative. Since 2010, the interactive concert series has brought together talents including Duran Duran and David Lynch; Arcade Fire and Terry Gilliam; and Mary J. Blige and Adam Shankman.
Amex has announced the latest collaborators— Jack White and Gary Oldman. It seems like an unusual pairing, but upon closer inspection, says Deborah Curtis, vice president of entertainment marketing and sponsorships at Amex, you will find that the former White Stripes frontman and the Oscar-nominated actor and director share commonalities, including reputations for being innovators in their respective fields.
Now that Amex has brought these two creative minds together, Curtis and her colleagues are doing what they have done with other Unstaged collaborators—staying out of their way and letting them do what they do best. "We think the magic comes from the collaboration of the artists," Curtis explains. "Our role is to make the connections and provide the platform."
For his part, Oldman promises "to immerse the Unstaged livestream audience in both a highly stylized and energetic viewing experience." The concert, in support of White’s new solo album, Blunderbuss, will take place on April 27 at New York City’s Webster Hall, and most fans will see the event from home courtesy of the livestream on YouTube or on mobile devices through YouTube and VEVO apps for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Android. "What digital allows us to do, and, frankly working with great partners like YouTube and VEVO allows us to do, is to connect with the audience and our cardmembers on an entirely different scale," Curtis says.
People who aren’t at the show will have access to various social tools and interactive features, although a complete list of the digital resources for this particular concert have yet to be announced. Previously, Unstaged concerts have allowed viewers the ability to do things like control camera angles and influence set lists.
At-home viewers have also been invited to contribute photos that were projected on screens at concerts for acts like Arcade Fire and Mary J. Blige, and Sugarland rewarded fans who participated in their Unstaged concert via mobile devices with digital mementos, including exclusive concert photos and wallpapers.
"We have upped the ante [since 2010] in terms of the different tools that we have added to Unstaged," Curtis says. "We started with it being an online experience, and we expanded into mobile. Now we’re looking at the next horizon. There are limitless opportunities. Our goal is to be where our consumers are."
Unstaged concerts have been streamed over 70 million times, and last October’s Coldplay show specifically was streamed more than 19 million times, setting a record for the most streams ever generated by a single artist event on YouTube. "To us, that is a real success," Curtis says. "We have an incredible amount of engagement across this platform, and we are making some sort of a connection because the numbers keep growing, and we keep reaching more and more diverse audiences."
[Jack White Image: fabionascimento]