Inside Six Brand-Artist Collaborations That Rocked the Industry

Artist collaborations provide brands with an authentic opportunity to engage fans in a critical passion point like music, whether they’re sponsoring tours or activating one-off experiences, that give fans unparalleled access to their favorite acts. The partnerships themselves vary in strategy as brands leverage fresh tactics in an effort to intertwine their messaging with that of the music itself—sometimes out front with a logo and a brand experience and, sometimes, tucked away in the background.

Like Microsoft, which has been working behind the scenes to help artists improve the live concert experience for fans through its array of technology. The brand’s most recent partnership with Washed Out (aka Ernest Greene) is bringing the artist’s latest album to life through Kinect technology, creating what Greene refers to as “the future of live concert experiece.”

It’s all part of the brand’s Music x Technology platform, developed in in partnership with creative music agency Listen. The program aims to redefine traditional brand-artist collaborations by leveraging Microsoft technology.


Microsoft x Tech_Washed Out 2

Microsoft’s motion-sensing Kinect cameras translate Washed Out’s new album into an immersive live experience.


This summer, the brand is helping Washed Out deliver visual content all along the nationwide Get Lost Tour. The concert experience centers on Mister Mellow, the artist’s multimedia album, which features visuals created by 11 different video artists and leverages several forms of animation, from Claymation and stop-motion, to hand-drawn cartoons.

To bring it to life, the brand turned to its motion-sensing Kinect cameras to translate the album into an immersive live experience. At each show, the Microsoft team uses the cameras to capture artist movement on stage in real time and seamlessly integrates it into the existing visual effects, providing psychedelic graphics that echo the album’s multimedia effects. The result: a live experience that allows fans to capture Washed Out’s “impressionistic view of the world.”

“The artists are really excited about what they’ve been able to create because it’s their idea and their creation. And it’s exciting for us to be able to see what the tech helped to make better,” says Amy Sorokas, director-strategic partnerships, brand strategy at Microsoft. “We think of this as an opportunity to do some storytelling around how that works and hopefully inspire other people in the industry to consider what they can do with tech.”

Of course, every brand has its own unique approach when it comes to leveraging partnerships. Following is a look at six more brand-artist collaborations rocking the industry.

Photo courtesy: Matthew Pitts


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