3D Printing: What Impact Can it Have on Brands, Music and Entertainment?

IS IT A FAD? NO, IT’S MAKING A DIFFERENCE NOW…

The rise and increasing application of 3D printing is hard to ignore. It’s everywhere. A few of us at FRUKT have taken a closer look…

After trips to the 3D exhibition at the Science Museum, the Future is Here show at the Design Museum and a talk with Chris Anderson (“The Democratisation of manufacturing, design and technology”) it’s clear that this is a significant technological advancement that is impacting and improving the way we work and live: right here, right now. However, whilst it is being used on an industrial scale across medicine, architecture, art, design (and beyond), the likes of MakerBot are now making 3D printers for a couple of thousand quid which means us - the mere consumers - can plonk one on out kitchen top whilst our kids print off new figurines for their dolls houses or Warhammer battlefields.

And we’re only in the dot matrix stage of its lifespan.

So, it got us thinking about what impact this technology could have on music and entertainment…

“MOMENT MARKETING” IN MUSIC
3D printing could facilitate more immediate engagement to create more memorable, powerful connections with consumers

Tech obsessed and full-time Tweeter Will.i.am sees 3D printing as the next step to revolutionising band and artist merchandise, which hasn’t changed since The Rolling Stones era. Having seen for myself a variety of unique and impossibly intricate printed objects at the 3D exhibition, Will.i.am recognises the opportunity to profit from ‘one-off printed moments’. He enthuses about the possibilities: “You go see Lady Gaga in concert. There's not just lights onstage, but scanners and she does some crazy pose. You capture that moment and print her.”

Printed in time for sale at the end of the concert, this Lady Gaga figurine would be a more personal memento versus the same generic t-shirt sold a million times over. Not only does this push exciting, unexplored boundaries whilst undoubtedly generating new financial revenues for the music industry, it could bring fans, brands and artists seemingly closer together in the moment.

DIALLING UP BRAND AND ARTIST POWER, IN HOME
3D printing provides an opportunity for consumers to interact with a brand or artist tangibly, in real-time. A new level of personalised engagement right from your armchair

More aptly for the average FRUKT employee and nostalgic for some, Instructables, a creation sharing website, have developed what may be the world’s first 3D-printed, playable LP records. Although unlikely to tempt the industry back into mass LP manufacturing, this brings 3D printing at home on a large scale closer to reality. Evidence of the currently unavoidable faint bumpy lines on the thinly layered resin prints does hinder the overall quality of sound, but this is nonetheless a step in the right direction for the technology and good news for anyone hoping to re-fill their empty LP shelves on the cheap. This ability for you to interact with a brand so tangibly, downloading designs and printing in your living room brings artists and brands closer to you, whenever a new design is ready to download. 

SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

It’s early days, but first of all it’s a question of why you want to use the technology and the message you want to deliver. The advent of social media saw a rush of brands jumping on Facebook, all in a flurry, because everyone was doing it. But then only thinking about why they were there retrospectively.

All we’d say is do three things:

  1. UNDERSTAND the possibilities. Learn about the technology and how you could potentially harness it
  2. CONSIDER your objectives, the story you want to tell, who you’re talking to, the environment, the take out for the consumer – how does 3D printing now (or in the future) deliver on this
  3. TEST & MEASURE with smaller campaigns to gauge consumer / fan reactions (when the time is right)

A lot has been written about 3D printing recently but it’s difficult to predict when, it will hit the mainstream. Memento figurines and average sounding LPs are just the tip of a very big and growing iceberg as people’s 3D imaginations are taking off and a whole new world of creativity and possibilities is opening up. I, for one, can’t wait to see just what 3D printing will be capable of in the future.

We’ll keep you posted on what’s to come.

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