HYPETRAK Magazine: Volume 1 – GoPro, The Documenters

Influencing the masses is a daunting task to say the least, but one that does not faze Neil Dana,

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Influencing the masses is a daunting task to say the least, but one that does not faze Neil Dana, director of music marketing, and David Rodrick, music marketing manager over at GoPro Music. A relatively new area of focus, GoPro is turning heads in the music industry with its innovative music-specific products and growing presence at prestigious music events. As part of an ever-evolving brand that branches out into a range of activities such as surfing, biking and snowboarding, users can immerse themselves in a choice selection of powerful and inspirational experiences through point of view (POV) shots. Without a doubt, GoPro’s value transcends its two by three-inch casing and high-resolution video specs; it represents a global community of adrenaline junkies who share mutual interest, as well as a special affinity with the brand. Time after time, a seemingly simple idea is transformed into a mesmerizing video bursting with creativity and ingenuity, in turn captivating millions of viewers from across the globe. By freeing up people’s hands of cumbersome video equipment, GoPro allows anyone to assume the role of an entire video crew, encompassing the whole spectrum of director, producer, cameraman and more. It promotes both organized and spontaneous video shooting, which has reshaped both amateur and professional videography as we know it. For this reason, the constant stream of compelling visuals is arguably its biggest asset, driving the brand into the subconscious of the wider audience, hence maintaining its relevance. It is a phenomenon that still has potential for growth as it hinges on people’s passion but it does beg the question, what is next for GoPro?

RELEVANCE IN THE MUSIC SPACE

For little over a decade, GoPro’s popularity has skyrocketed, turning it into a billion-dollar enterprise endorsed by some of biggest names in extreme sports. By comparison, GoPro’s presence in music has not yet reached the same heights but it’s on the rise. It single-handedly created a market for POV video via action sports, giving it a solid foundation to expand into other areas such as music and attract influential figures into its roster of artists. This is something Neil and David are trying to achieve over the course of the next couple years. We spoke with the duo to talk about their foray into music and the relevance of GoPro in the industry.

How important is music to GoPro?

David: If you ask anybody at GoPro, music is definitely one of our priorities now. While it’s one of our newest verticals, we’re currently designing a program to put all emphasis on music. Many of our executives have a music background and there’s a lot of music in our blood now.

Neil: We’re extremely focused on allowing musicians to capture their experience and share it, which has been GoPro’s goal from day one. We also offer artists a way to promote themselves in an economical way, and for $400-$500 USD they can create their own content, putting power in people’s hands.

When did GoPro realize that it should focus on the music industry?

David: It all came together pretty organically. We started our music vertical about three years ago when people from the music industry started reaching out to us. Everyone saw how it was being used in action sports and artists wanted to apply it to music videos and live performances. They saw the potential of putting a bunch of GoPros up on the stage, capturing footage and having nobody bother them.

Has it been challenging for GoPro to make the leap into the music industry?

David: It’s been amazing to see how doors have swung right open for us. We’ve seen the same level of enthusiasm from musicians, it’s been really great. Bands like the Rolling Stones have invited us to travel on their tour from England to the United States.

Neil: What’s taking a little while to figure out is the best strategy moving forward in order to make a lot of noise. There are so many opportunities from the top pros in the world, all the way down to enthusiasts.

What is your view on how music consumption has changed?

David: Music consumption has definitely changed with people going online and buying albums on iTunes, but I welcome it with open arms. I have a lot of friends at record labels that are frustrated with the fact that people aren’t buying physical product anymore. Change is inevitable so it’s just a matter of embracing it. The core music fans will buy physical product but even they are getting their fill by buying through digital alongside that.

What role does GoPro currently play with the documentation of music?

Neil: I think we’re creating a new experience for people to see music in a way that hasn’t been done before. People are seeing things from the performer’s point of view, down the neck of the guitar, up on the stage, and even backstage. That’s one of our goals, to change the way music is seen and experienced. We’re also really excited to build up our brand with different artists.

How can GoPro add value to music videos?

Neil: One of the things that excites me the most is helping people become recognized through talent discovery. With over 8 million Facebook fans and as the number one brand channel on YouTube, we’ve got a large audience. Getting artists to put music in different videos, exposing them and getting them noticed is one of the most gratifying things for me. I’m proud and excited to be part of this music movement because it’s a passion of mine to create something where we help artists with their career.

David: Personally, I’m a big fan of using YouTube to discover music videos, both live and in-studio. What we’re doing is trying to show people how music looks through the GoPro lens by appealing to the mass audience with cool views and angles.

How is GoPro influencing the music culture?

David: At festivals like Tomorrowland in Belgium, you’ll see hundreds upon hundreds of GoPros on poles, waving in the audience. Europe seems to be ahead of the curve with this and it’s almost as if sticking a GoPro up in the air at a concert makes you part of a community. GoPro users are beginning to identify themselves and stand next to each other, which is really cool to see.

We’re trying to tap into various genres out there, from classic to country, rock, electronic music and jazz. Neil and I, as well as a lot of the people at GoPro, have eclectic music tastes so we try to embrace all genres whenever possible.

For the full interview, pick-up a copy of the HYPETRAK Magazine: Volume One for $12 USD (Free Shipping for certain countries) over at the HYPEBEAST Store.

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