People might not want to pay for music, but Sony Music thinks they should at least do something to earn it. With Ogilvy’s help, they have come up with a fairly ingenious way to promote a new record by Crossfaith, a Japanese electronicore metal band from Osaka.
In order to listen to the single Diavolos, a track on Crossfaith’s Freedom EP, fans must headbang in front of their webcam. Not just a token headbang; they have to keep it up for the duration of the track, otherwise the music and visual effects stop.
Japan is fond of health and safety announcements, and headbangers duly receive a warning before starting. “Safety first,” it urges. “Be realistic about what you can and cannot do to make the headbanging experience as safe as possible. Take personal responsibility for your own safety and those around you. Stop immediately if you feel unwell. Just go straight to buying the CD!” Fans are told to take a couple of rests throughout the exercise.
Ogilvy says the site uses deep learning to monitor the quality of the fans’ headbanging. Upon completion, an image-tracking algorithm generates a piece of personalised artwork based on their effort.
In a statement, Ogilvy Japan’s chief creative officer Ajab Samrai noted that “traditional” music promotion techniques have lost their effectiveness. “In its place is a new era in which musicians blend art, advertising and technology in smart and exciting ways,” he said.
Campaign’s view: In the interests of science, Campaign undertook the full headbanging mission, and as an electronicore novice was proud to have “kind of made it metal”. The idea is a great way of engaging fans remotely. We would probably forego the safety warnings, but the combination of simplicity, fun and challenge seems a strong formula. This being Japan, there’s also a decent chance that people will actually go out and buy the CD.
Editor's note: Sadly, the site does not allow one to save the video of the headbanging trial.
This article also appears on Campaign Japan: ファンにヘッドバンギングを促すソニーミュージック