The sound of print: Interactive music posters

The static nature of the humble print ad is somewhat at odds with today’s on-demand consumer, who is now accustomed to, and anticipating, interactivity and social sharing at every turn. As a result outdoor print media has had to adapt to digital culture at a rapid pace.

With music now built into our social circles online (from Spotify to Soundcloud) and instant access a replacement for the ownership model of yesteryear (those oh so cumbersome CDs), both brands and bands are looking to turn print media into a conduit for music experiences.

Here FRUKT takes a look at some recent music innovations in musical print media…

Listening Post

Hot off the interactive press at SXSW is the rather clever ‘Listening Post’ concept, which merges the humble fly poster with traditional in-store listening posts to create an interactive poster that can play short audio clips.

Pressing any of the thumbnail images on the poster enables music fans to hear audio samples of the various bands (courtesy of some innovate conductive ink technology). Tickets for the gigs the posters are advertising can also be purchased via the poster.

Also showcased at this year SXSWi festival – and from the same smart guys behind ‘Listening Post’ - were a series of digital postcards that can play music when combined with a special paper player.  The postcards are also screen-printed using conductive ink and enable the user to listen to tracks by attaching headphones and pressing printed play buttons on the paper.

Smart, seemingly cost effective, stuff with a wealth of additional possibilities to explore. Paper will never be quiet again.

Ads that let you choose the music

Here’s a relatively simple take on the often-maligned bus shelter ad from Australian firm, NMRA Insurance, which turns a basic print ad into a stereo sound system - one where the viewer calls the shots as to the music selection.

The ads, placed outside Wynyard Station in Sydney (and designed to draw awareness to the fact the company will insure car stereos) enabled bored travelers to customise the music selection via their mobile phone, delivering music through built in speakers.

There are a few hurdles to jump through; such as visiting the Facebook page, downloading the app and interacting with QR codes. However, what is particularly interesting here is the fact that this is a shared music experience, a broadcast to all around, rather than the usual more personal music experience.

Yahoo used a similar, but slightly more socially advanced, version of the concept, with its ‘Bus Stop Derby’ promotion in conjunction with Ok Go last year.

Tin can audio poster

Following on from a bold approach to print marketing, creating beautifully crafted 3D fly posters, hot band of the moment, Dry The River, decided to go a step further and build their music into static print ads.

To promote the launch of their debut album, ‘Shallow Bed’, twelve posters were developed each featuring a different track from the album built into the actual paper. The additional music element was created by merging a bit of behind-the-scenes tech with a much more rudimentary ‘tin can on a string’ listening device.

A simple concept, but delivered in a highly tactile way that provides a limited edition music experience to those lucky enough to stumble on a poster.


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