From snarky wardrobe comments to outrage over winners and losers, millions simply cannot resist the urge to tweet during award shows. Last year’s Oscars netted 6.8 million tweets. The VMAs, boosted by that infamous Miley Cyrus performance, pulled in 18.5 million. Even last night’s lowly Golden Globes managed to rack up 2.1 million.
Advertisers naturally want to be a part of this conversation. Beyond the people who tweet about the commercials, however, this can be a difficult proposition. So for next Sunday’s Grammy Awards, audio equipment maker Harman, under its JBL Audio brand, will attempt a pretty cool experiment: They’ll turn your tweets into songs.
With the launch of “Tweet Music,” tweets that include JBL Audio’s Twitter handle and either #JBLgrammys or #JBLtweetmusic will be run through an algorithm that effectively “songifies” them. Users will receive a tweet back from JBL with a link to their composition. The algorithm looks at strings of three characters that correspond with a series of musical tracks. The company tells me there are close to 13 billion different track combinations. As additional incentive, users who participate are entered to win a trip to the 2015 Grammy Awards.
“The idea was there’s a lot of ways of listening to music,” says Sean Kapoor, VP of Global Marketing at Harman. “Let’s bring out ability to create music in a unique way.”
It’s certainly unique, but will it catch on? I played around with the service and while there may be billions of combinations, the style, tempo, and tone of each of my Twitter compositions was pretty similar. I get it: Without putting limitations of tonal options, most tweets would be a jumbled, discordant mess (which is interesting, but probably doesn’t hold much appeal to average music fans). I tried to reverse-engineer the algorithm a bit to figure out what characters correspond to what musical attributes but didn’t have much luck.
If JBL tries this again, I wonder if it’s possible for the algorithm to pick up not just strings of random characters but also keywords. For example, if the tweet includes words expressing excitement, the music will be appropriately exciting, more so than a song created from a tweet expressing disappointment or snark. Or maybe tweets that mention artists like Taylor Swift will result in a country song while tweets that mention Usher will create an R&B track and so on.
Even with its current limitations, if people only try Tweet Music once (and because it’s an interesting concept, I think many will) then forget about it. It’s still a win for JBL, providing free advertising anytime someone uses the service.
Now at least somebody benefits from those millions of Miley Cyrus twerk tweets.
[Image via wikimedia]