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End of Year Awards: Best Use of Emerging Technologies, 2010

by Max Willens on December 15, 2010 · 28 comments

Technology, media, and music are moving so quickly nowadays that it’s hard to tell what to pour your time and energy into.

Apps? Bundled music and merch? Foursquare? HTML5? iPads? How do these things work again? What do they do?

The best part is that in today’s world, you have to ask these questions as you’re running out the door and jumping off the cliff, not before, and so we hail the following artists for capitalizing on the latest trends without sacrificing any integrity.

Killola and Aderra's award-winning dog tags

Killola and Aderra’s Dog Tags
Ever since Trent Reznor put USB drives on the map as a viable promotional tool, there have been numerous attempts to push that concept one step further. And Killola, a hard-charging, resourceful band from Los Angeles, came up with what might be the industry standard this year. Their Aderra-created USB dog tags feature something called PushOvr technology, which allows the band to instantly update the contents of their fans’ USB drives. That means early access to songs, soundboard recordings of live shows, photos taken of and by the band, links to secret web content, and much, much more. For those of you unfamiliar, Aderra is a digital distributor that specializes in live recordings. They’ve worked with big fish like Lady Gaga and the Pixies, but Killola was the first band Aderra ever worked with, all because the band met one of their staff members at a party they played. Nice to see a 21st century hookup borne of old school networking.

OK Go and the Bus Stop Derby
As we were coming up with concepts for this whole end of year bash, someone thought of naming these awards for particular artists or people. It didn’t really go anywhere, but the first example the leapt to everybody’s minds was “The OK Go Award for Best Embrace of New Technology.” For good or ill, these guys have made themselves synonymous with innovation and creativity over the past year, and their final big partnership is one of the coolest. Bus Stop Derby, a concept dreamed up by Yahoo that uses gaming to spur competition, pits neighborhoods against each other for the prize of seeing Damian Kulash and co. play a free show. OK Go might only be tangentially involved here, but because of how potentially exciting Bus Stop Derby is (using technology and gaming as catalysts for local community participation and cooperation?), we hail the band for acting as its public face, and maybe pushing it into widespread use.

Ben Folds, Merton, and Chatroulette
Chatroulette will probably go down in history as yet another digital innovation that was capitalized on by the porn industry and nobody else. But somewhere between the site’s mention on The Early Show and the show’s skewering on The Daily Show, bands started to use it as a promotional tool; Foxy Shazam, for example, previewed their album on the site months before its official release, and Hovevey Zion made a music video with it. But the runaway winners of the Chatroulette sweepstakes were Ben Folds and his supposed alter ego, Merton. It took many months for Folds to actually prove that he and Merton were different people, but in the interim, Folds received an avalanche of media attention, copped Merton’s schtick in concert, and gave his career one of the biggest boosts it’s received in years.

The concept of iPad DJing needed a face. And Rana Sobhani stepped in.

Worth Noting:

  • Smule’s I Am T-Pain App
    Sure, becoming the unofficial face of Autotune is easier said than done, but if you can boil any kind of notoriety down into an app (and an award-winning one, no less), more power to you.
  • Rana Sobhani, the iPad DJ
    You know what’s better than DJ gigs at corporate events for big-time extra cash? Being the DJ that can do corporate events for tech geeks and regular folks, for loads of extra cash.

As you’ve probably noticed, this post is part of a series that’s spread out across some of our favorite sites online. Check out the preceding posts at the links below, and stay tuned for a roundup of the roundups at the end of the week.

Top Three Touring Teactics
Most Interesting and Innovative Music Start-ups
Most Interesting and Innovative Online Marketing Strategies
Best Music Videos of 2010

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Chris B. December 15, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Kick ass list, Max!

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