Tuesday, May 19, 2015

New on Snapchat, Music Videos (NyTimes)

Josh Legg, known as Goldroom, with Nikki Segal making a music video for Snapchat. The messaging app is branching out as an outlet for music. Sam Comen for The New York Times
Over the last year, Josh Legg, an electronic musician who performs under the name Goldroom, has noticed a change in how his fans interact with him online. More have turned from Twitter to Snapchat, the mobile app on which short messages digitally self-destruct after a few seconds.
“It immediately transforms the conversation into something that’s much more intimate and appealing for both sides,” said Mr. Legg, 31. “Anything they say, they don’t have to worry about it going out to the public — and neither do I.”
This week, in a further embrace of the platform, Goldroom will release four music videos on Snapchat, made with the company’s involvement and shot in a way that takes advantage of how people hold their phones. Unlike virtually all music videos, TV shows and films, Goldroom’s videos will be in vertical, or “portrait,” format.
The first of the videos, “Embrace,” will be released Tuesday, with another new one every day through Friday. They are the latest step in Snapchat’s evolving role as a media outlet. While Snapchat is popular as a messaging platform for young people — hundreds of millions of “snaps,” or short videos and photographs, are sent on the app each day — it is increasingly being seen as a place where news and entertainment can attract those same young people.
Mr. Legg on location of the Snapchat video for his song “California Rain.” Sam Comen for The New York Times
In January, Snapchat introduced its Discover feature, offering bite-size content from major media partners like Warner Music, Vice and ESPN. Peter Hamby, a CNN correspondent, announced last month that he was joining Snapchat in a journalistic capacity, and even the television star SofĂ­a Vergara recently said she would do a reality show on the platform.
All of that, analysts say, suggests that Snapchat has landed on a formula that it believes can help media companies capture the attention of fickle young viewers.
“We’re living in a world where consumers feel they can get online content anytime, anyplace,” said Richard Greenfield, a media analyst at BTIG Research, “but what Snapchat has done is create urgency with content that only lasts 24 hours.”
Snapchat, based in Venice, Calif., has become one of the hottest technology companies, raising more than half a billion dollars and last valued by its investors at more than $15 billion.
In the digital music world, the growth in the number of outlets for promotion and new releases has led to a fragmented market in which it can be frustratingly difficult to break through with new audiences, said Josh Deutsch, the chief executive of Downtown Records, Goldroom’s label.
“In a climate where you’ve got digitally native, multicultural consumers communicating across different platforms and using a variety of streaming and radio services, it can be so difficult to cut through that,” Mr. Deutsch said.
Goldroom’s four videos will be released through Snapchat’s Snap Channel on its Discover page, which Madonna used in February to release a new video. After all of Goldroom’s videos are released, they will be combined into a short film, with each part as a separate chapter.
Snapchat has been particularly popular in the dance world. Star D.J.s like Diplo and Afrojack use it to send mini-updates from the road through a feature called Snapchat Stories, which lets users stitch together short videos that remain available to those in their personal network for 24 hours — longer and more widely available than a private snap, but short of a fully broadcast message.
The Stories feature was introduced in October 2013 with a video made by Goldroom. Mr. Legg said that he was at the time a moderate user of the platform when he received an out-of-the-blue email from Evan Spiegel, Snapchat’s chief executive, who invited him to the company’s office to talk about music.
Since then Snapchat has become a steady social media outlet for Mr. Legg, as he posts musical snippets or anything else that seems interesting enough to share but not momentous enough for a Facebook update.
“I can put a chord progression I’m working on, or something as simple as what I eat for lunch,” Mr. Legg said, “things I figure the world probably doesn’t care about so I would never post in other places.
“But I feel totally comfortable putting that stuff up in my Snapchat channel,” he added, “knowing that it’s going to disappear.”

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