Great music can teleport us to different dimensions, as our favorite songs can get us lost in thoughts and emotions. With #LostInMusic, Sony celebrated this escape by bringing together music and technology to create an innovative concert experience. At its core, it sounds like a very cool concept, but the January #LostInMusic event in Los Angeles seemed to be #LostInDirection (I know, a bad joke).
Big brands, like Sony, spend a lot on brand activations, hoping that interactive events, concerts, and celebrity appearances can increase brand awareness and customer engagement. Typically they hire experiential agencies to conceptualize and execute these activations, and on rare occasions, things don’t always go as planned. #LostInMusic LA, as touted on its website, was supposed to be “a mind-bending mashup of the latest Sony technology combined with the hottest Sony Music artists, all in an immersive concert experience like you’ve never seen before”. Will there be holograms involved? Will the audience wear VR headsets and be transported to some digital dreamworld? The description alone had me super intrigued for the events that laid ahead.
I’m sure Sony had very high hopes for #LostInMusic, but due to some logistical issues the venue, its potential impact fell flat. Friday’s kick-off event which featured Khalid at the LA Hangar near Downtown had to be moved to Avalon Nightclub in Hollywood. Earlier that summer, Khalid packed Santa Monica Beach to the brim when he performed a free concert, so I was only expecting rabid Khalid fans to come in droves. Maybe some people didn’t get the memo or were confused with the switch, but attendance was only half of what I was expecting. The switch in venue also meant that loss of that promised “mind-blowing” concert experience, as organizers had to scramble for a last-minute venue. The most tech thing at Avalon was this pretty bad photobooth that poorly fused a picture of Khalid and yourself. Anyways, in terms of music, it was great. H.E.R opened and she’s amazing live with her sultry vocals. It was my first time seeing H.E.R live and she really impressed me, with her acoustic performance of “Best Part” blowing me away.
Khalid headlined the show and the fast-rising star is a natural showman, as the 19-year-old’s zeal for performing lit up the scene. I got word that he was supposed to premiere at VR inspired music video, but due to the switch in venues, they had to cut it. Even with the great performances, I expected more.
Saturday’s event with G-Eazy was even more awkward. Initially, it was canceled the day before due to the same venue issues, but late Saturday afternoon, some people received the email announcing that it was back on at the original spot at LA Hanger. With such last minute notice, I coordinate with my friends. Now the setup at Saturday’s event was what I was expecting from #LostInMusic. Guests traveled through an immersive audio soundscape known as the Acoustic Vessel “Odyssey” (#AVO576), which housed 576 Sony speakers, to the “Dreamscape”, a performance space designed in collaboration with innovative audio artist, evala. The only drawback was that nobody was there! In a room fit for hundreds, there were probably only 75 people who decided to make the last minute commitment to attend #LostInMusic. Again, due to disorganization and confusion, the event didn’t reach its full potential, as you had a popular artist like G-Eazy perform to an extravagant room that was 10% full. Even if he was getting paid a hefty check or it was part of his contract with Sony Music, I’m sure G-Eazy wasn’t that stoked to perform to such empty space.