Every machine has its own acoustic signature and GE has collaborated with a musician to capture these sounds and create a music track.
These signatures are a precise unique frequency, much like a human fingerprint, and they indicate whether a machine is operating at peak performance. GE monitors and records them to perform real-time testing on airplane engines, locomotives, power turbines and medical equipment.
GE collaborated with music producer Matthew Dear and creative agency The Barbarian Group, to take these sounds and create a banging electronic music track.
‘Drop Science’ is the result of teaming Dear with GE Acoustics Engineer Andrew Gorton and the collection of thousands of audio emissions from GE’s machines.
The music track is good and the brand has also created a nice little documentary film (created by m ss ng p eces) to explain the project and how it came to life.
This is simple but effective work and its already attracting a lot of attention.
It’s certainly not the first time a brand has turned to music collaborations – and it won’t be the last. Just last year, Intel collaborated with Flume to create an electronic music track 'Intelligent Sounds' , which saw robots play Intel powered tablets to create the sounds. Link here.
There’s also been a number of brands that have collaborated with musicians to use their products as instruments – notably the Stella Artois Chalice Symphony.
Like both of those projects the end result is a genuinely good piece of music, which lends a huge air of authenticity to the brand and the collaboration.
Dear told Fast Company the project was challenging: “It was a tightrope to walk to make sure it was equal parts experimentation, something that represented GE but also something that was clearly one of my productions. It was an interesting blend to hit all those angles without going too far off in one direction."
Dear was an excellent choice and he’s proved a wonderful ambassador in singing the company’s virtues to a new and impressionable audience.
“Hearing Andrew [Gorton] talk about what he does and the projects they work on was really eye-opening and inspiring," he continued. "What I do for art and creativity, guys like him are doing it to save lives or make peoples’ lives better. For example, MRI machines are really loud and the experience of getting an MRI can be intimidating, so they’re thinking about how to make the machine quieter in order to make the experience less traumatic. It’s a completely different approach to sound than I was familiar with."
Suddenly, GE has become relevant to a generation of people obsessed with electronic music and the production and manipulation of sounds. Given the company is hell bent on attracting the brightest, smartest and most innovative minds – this can only be a good thing.
In drawing the comparisons between the creation of beats and electronic sounds and the world of machines, GE is reaching out to new audiences in a way that is certain to get their attention. This is also evident in using the BitTorrent network to connect with an audience of creators and artists that would not naturally been drawn to connect with GE.
This partnership is fascinating and definitley one to watch. The strategy here is clearly to demonstrate the innovative and creative elements involved in GE and educate new audiences about the possibilites involved with the brand. One element that I find particularly interesting is the way GE has created different elements of content to distribute via the different platforms.
The Barbarian Group Executive Director of Media & Distribution Colin Nagy said: "We wanted to create really interesting content for various levels of audiences and stuff that feels natuve to the environment you are watching it in."
"For example, the video has a high-level overview that anyone can wrap their heads around, and watch on YouTube or in their social feed. The Soundcloud track is a track that someone shares or reblogs, and will hopefully catch your eye as you’re listening to music on the platform. The sound files and clips are for people that are more hands-on; who can load the heavyweight industrial sounds into a sampler or sequencer, and create. So, in essence, there’s a ton of really interesting modular content that is easily shared for various levels of engagement."
This distribution strategy shows a strong understanding of how people connect with content and will benefit the brand in appearing authentic and relevant within the channels. Branded Arts Review has written about a number of GE projects in the past, as the company has been an early and creative adopter of branded entertainment and this experience is evident in the understanding the brand has of how audiences connect with content online.
While The Drop Science Project may not be the most original or unique idea, it’s a lovely execution and a really smart collaboration, that is surprising and unexpected for a company like GE. It is so much more compelling than the company's advertising and it really brings to life GE's brand positioning of Imagination at Work.
Much like the GE Moon Boots it created to celebrate the anniversary of the Moon Landing, GE is creating work aimed at new, younger audiences that is designed to change the way people view the brand. This work is cooler and edgier than you would think GE was capable of and it’s bound to be making an impact.
This is a brilliant project and what it lacks in originality it makes up in execution. GE is on a mission to prove it’s a cool and relevant brand, I think it’s working. I give it 4 stars.
Creative Companies: The Barbarian Group, m ss ng p eces and Matthew Dear