Indie rock band 30 Seconds to Mars is no stranger to technology, innovation, and fan interaction. With the creation of The Summit, a band hosted gathering, fans were given the chance to record their vocals to be used on 2009’s This is War. Thousands of fans participated, and their faces were captured and used as alternate album covers upon the CD’s release. After this success, the band looked for a way to offer fans continued interaction without the need of physical attendance. This goal led frontman Jared Leto to create the social streaming site VyRT.com.
VyRT (pronounced “vert”) is described as a “digital golden ticket.” It offers artists the chance to sell digital tickets to live events streamed over the Internet. Not unlike video chat services such as Skype, the site gives people the chance to talk with acquaintances around the globe. VyRT’s approach, however, is one of a bigger scale that allows hundreds of people to simultaneously participate in conversations taking place in real-time.
This past August, 30 Seconds to Mars’ debut, self-titled album reached its ten-year anniversary, and fans were invited to a track-by-track analysis and commentary on VyRT. As a long time fan of the band interested in their recording process, I bought a digital ticket allowing me to view the event. Based on the $9.99 ticket price, I expected to view a quick run through of the album and a short Q&A session with the band, but I was wrong.
The band started the stream with an acoustic session, which consisted of a few songs. Jared Leto performed in an isolated booth with only a guitar and a microphone, and was backed by guitarist Tomo Milicevic during different parts. After this, 30 Seconds to Mars moved into track-by-track commentary and history of their first self-titled album; they explained the meanings behind songs, how they were created and recorded, and told stories about how the band has developed. Both casual and die-hard fans enjoyed this, as it offered an inside view of the band’s entire creative process.
After a lengthy session of answering fan questions, the band showed a number of personal photos and videos. For the first time, fans saw the beginnings of this now popular band from the eyes of the creators. Producer Steve Lillywhite then previewed the band’s new music and offered a commentary on what the future holds. Four hours later, the event wrapped up.
30 Seconds to Mars: http://thirtysecondstomars.thisisthehive.net/