October 3, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Step Aside, 3-D: Wirewax and the First ‘Shoppable’ Music Video

The World's First Shoppable Music Video

Forget 3-D, which hasn’t made people buy new televisions in quite the way the consumer electronics industry had anticipated. Wirewax is taking a different approach to immersive video with “taggable” videos that let viewers click to learn about or purchase items depicted. Recording artists are doing whatever they can to attract an audience and promote their albums, and wirewax is yet another innovative method they can use — in this case, in their music videos.

Although you can simply watch these videos as usual, it can be tempting to click on the tags that appear throughout these videos. We spoke to wirewax co-founder Dan Garraway about what makes their video technology different from the rest, including YouTube, which lets uploaders tag areas of the screen at certain times but not actual objects.

“Encouraging viewers to lean forward and become users is something every other part of the web does extremely well and video, well, hasn’t,” said Garraway. “Our experience shows the likes of Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, SSENSE, EMI, Universal and traditional broadcasters like Channel 4 and commercial leader ITV are seeing the benefits of this in stickier, more engaging videos. But also, you now have a walking shopping basket. Wherever that video goes, your commercial opportunities go with it. This is something the fashion brands, particularly, are starting to see real value in.”

Wirewax, “the world’s first taggable video tool,” has worked with several music artists on interactive videos with a variety of approaches. Laura Marling created an interactive album preview. The Other Lives replaced their website with a video before the release of their most recent album. Meanwhile, Iggy Azalea and Diplo collaborated to create the “shoppable” music video pictured above.

Said Garraway,

The Iggy Azalea video ended up getting embedded in over 4,000 leading blogs, social media and publication websites and of course this led to sales for the label who collaborated with them, SSENSE. But, it illustrates the new and it has to be said, controversial relationship between art and commerce. It’s a delicate balance to strike and fans/viewers will always be critical when it’s done badly. But, our observations of this and other collaborations are proving this is a new and much needed potential revenue stream for artists and bands – and one that is garnered from an existing asset, the music video. And let’s not pretend that if the video didn’t have interactivity to buy the looks, people wouldn’t wonder what they are and want to buy them. Music and celebrity is a world of lifestyle people buy into every day. The connection between the two has existed well before wirewax existed. It’s up to artists whether it suits their particular feel, music, or even album.

wirewaxIggy Azalea and Diplo already have strong fan bases, which explains much of the attention garnered by their shoppable video, but the opportunity exists for other any commerce-minded artist to earn some extra revenue. Wirewax has shown that their interactive videos can also attract attention for up-and-coming artists, like Other Lives, which used wirewax to connect all sorts of extras to their video.

“Other Lives did this in a deeply immersive way with their Tamer Animals album,” noted Garroway, “allowing viewers to see their Instagram collection — even contributing to it — listen to other tracks from the album, and see extra behind-the-scenes content, all within that one shareable video. When you’ve got one hit to make your impression, this is incredibly important.”

In a sense, the video acts as the starting point for the future interactions and conversations that take place through other mediums. By clicking on the tags, we might end up on the band’s Facebook page, checking out their photos on Instagram, or listening to their songs via SoundCloud. By leading users to other, more familiar mediums, wirewax lets users comfortably continue their interactions and conversations on the social networks and media platforms that they already use daily, even though they may never have encountered this new type of video before.

Luckily for you, if you want to make one of these, wirewax operates on a “freemium” model, so you don’t need to pay for the basic level of service. Bands can view reports on the number of viewers, time spent viewing the video, and other information about the interactions. For those who are looking for a new way to engage fans, wirewax seems like an option worth exploring. In addition to offering something fans may not have seen before, these videos play on just about any platform, and they don’t need to try to sell stuff — they can simply offer interactive features instead, so a video feels less like a promotional tool that’s pushing content on your audience, and more like an exploration.