Visualization of the Week: Watch music go viral

A band gave its new album to one fan. See how it spread from there.

The Internet has opened many new avenues for music discovery and marketing — case in point, the viral music video. English indie pop band The xx wanted to try something different: to watch the spread of their new album Coexist, beginning with just one fan.

The spread of music starting with a single fan

Bryan Lufkin at Fast Company reports:

“While other bands have experimented with social-media-driven record releases, typically those campaigns begin with a big public reveal. In this case, the band originally shared the album with just a single listener, with the intention of observing the viral spread (the first listener’s identity is being kept secret, but he or she lives in southeastern England). The band, partnering with Microsoft, built a website to track the path of their digitally distributed Coexist. After a gradual build, the site crashed due to unprecedented traffic.”

The map tracks the spread of the album from listener zero, if you will, and shows how it spread worldwide from September 3 through its release date on September 11. The new album plays as the background soundtrack. You can see the interactive visualization here.

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