Opinion: Does Pocketfuzz enhance or ruin a concert?

September 19, 2007 at 3:47 pm

The ability to interact with the world in new ways is meant to be a key attraction of the new generation of mobile phones and services. From receiving exclusive discounts in stores, to choosing the music in your favorite restaurant, or accessing location-specific information spontaneously, there are a plethora of options for mobile users to explore. Now Pocketfuzz has launched a new, free service that allows concert-goers to send text and picture messages to a special on-stage screen during a concert. But how much value does this kind of service add to the concert experience?

Audience interaction via mobile phone has been a feature of large-scale events for some time, and has seen enhancements through solutions like Two-Way TV that we looked at a while ago. Pocketfuzz brings interactivity to concerts regardless of the size of the venue or the audience. It’s a message visualization service that allows audience members to send text and picture messages to the artist on stage or other audience members by having them displayed on screens positioned on-stage or around the venue.

Apparently, when it was trialled at the Denver Post Underground Music Showcase last month, it proved very popular with audiences, artists and promoters alike. That’s probably because the more intimate, informal atmosphere of a concert with a crowd of a few hundred rather than tens of thousands makes messages more visible and actionable. Events based around big name acts in 80,000 seater stadium are often run like military operations, and there is less scope for this kind of audience interaction to contribute to the nature of the performance. At that kind of concert, there is also just so much going on, and the distance of the majority of the audience from the stage is so much greater, that this kind of messaging is just not going to get noticed as much.

Purists may argue that Pocketfuzz is an unwanted distraction whatever the venue, and that nothing should be allowed to shift people’s focus from the artist and the performance. But such is the devotion that many concert-goers feel towards the artist they have chosen to see, that an opportunity to interact with them is likely to prove very attractive. Ultimately, enthusiasm for Pocketfuzz is likely to vary widely depending on the nature of the event and how favorable the artist in question is to the idea. It will undoubtedly annoy quite a few people, but we think that they will be heavily outnumbered by fans who want to feel more connected to the event and the artist by participating in this way.

Hamish M.
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Entry filed under: mobile applications, mobile content, mobile music, pocketfuzz.

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