Final Kid Talks Hydeout: The Prelude, Mind-Bending Digital Event Space
Jan 25, 2021
5 min read
It’s no secret the music industry has been forced to change, re-think and innovate in the face of Covid-19. With in-person events on a seemingly indefinite hiatus, digital festivals and livestream music events have become the norm. Fans are now presented with an overwhelming amount of online content, leading creators to unveil cutting-edge technologies, platforms, and ideas at a breakneck pace.
Porter Robinson’s Secret Sky festival allowed users to explore a digital environment while experiencing a curated set list of livestreams. Insomniac feeds fans weekly online festivals inspired by the company’s slew of branded events. Big-name artists, including ZHU, film their livestreams in increasingly exotic locales.
With so much content, it’s increasingly hard to stand out or make a statement. That’s why Hydeout: The Prelude is combining all the elements to create a comprehensive experience. Think digital festival meets Netflix meets social network meets video game.
“For Hydeout, we have created virtual environments and we are also focusing on some mystical locations to transport viewers through our portal into favorite spots around the world,” says Mark Lim, Hydeout’s Executive Show Producer. “In terms of the user journey, we are offering three key components. You are able to chat with friends and make new friends. All of our subscribers will be able to create customized avatars. And we are introducing games as well, allowing our community to engage with not only friends, but to potentially win prizes as well.”
Hydeout: The Prelude’s origin story is a textbook Covid-era narrative. Hydeout was originally an in-person festival planned to debut this year in Singapore. Organizers went all out for the show, booking world-class headliners DJ Snake, Alison Wonderland, A$AP Rocky and Tinashe. Set to take place in the lush Gardens by the Bay nature park, the festival would have been a two-weekend blowout à la Coachella.
When the coronavirus made large gatherings and extended air travel unsafe, the highly-anticipated inaugural Hydeout Festival was postponed, and later canceled.
Like the majority of movers and shakers in the music industry, the Hydeout team was not ready to give up. Rather than transform a physical space, they shifted gears and pondered ways to revolutionize the digital frontier with a Hydeout Festival content platform.
They booked more than 40 additional global artists (Rita Ora, Don Diablo and Martin Garrix, to name a few), but they also recruited top industry videographer Charly Friedrichs, known professionally as Final Kid, to film the polished performances.
These aren’t just standard livestreams. Lim gave Friedrichs a great deal of artistic license to capture the music in the way only Final Kid can, and to tell the stories of the artists along the way.
“To just do a virtual concert is not sufficient,” Lim says. “It would be wise for us to continue with a content approach that allows this to tell [the artist’s] story as well. These are probably a lot of facts that even some of their top fans might not know. We really wanted to bring the artists closer to the fans.”
As digital concerts and festivals become the new standard, Lim notes that it is vital and necessary to continue growing the offerings of the experiences. While free livestreams by individual artists have been fun, successful, and a source of community for physically-distanced fan bases, companies hoping to sustain virtual event revenue must innovate and think outside the tried-and-true standards. For Hydeout, this meant not recreating a physical concert but taking advantage of the digital difference.
“When you’re at a festival, there’s never really a moment to get some background information about the artist,” Friedrichs says. “You walk up to the stage, the artist is performing there, and what the artists can give you is music and performance. With these alternative ways of creating content, you can also get a bit of a storyline going by interviewing them about certain topics: how they started with their music, all the way up to what a strange year this is for all of us.”
It’s Hydeout’s hope that by presenting the artists in the light of their own stories, viewers in social isolation can feel connected to the musicians they look up to, and perhaps even more to the music that has provided solace during such an unusual year.
Hydeout offers opportunities for connection and audience participation through live chats during the event. At the launch event, viewers will be able to interact with and comment on the artist’s performances in real time, mimicking the effect of experiencing a live show in a crowd. Users will also be able to create a customizable avatar with which to explore Hydeout World and interact with other users.
Clearly, the digital rendition of Hydeout doesn’t begin and end with music. Upon its official launch on January 25, Hydeout: The Prelude will offer an immersive, on-demand digital music festival experience that is accessible from all devices. Entrance to Hydeout World is available by subscription, either with an all-access pass for $49.90 or on a pay-as-you-go model. For those not ready to take a deep dive, preview pass options are available, allowing users to choose between purchasing or winning access to individual content packages by playing games on-site.
Despite the eclectic and wide-ranging offerings of Hydeout World, a few big questions remain. Is a digital festival - even one as innovative, all-encompassing and downright space-age like Hydeout - a substitute for an in-person concert? When we are finally able to gather and experience live music, will online environments like Hydeout stage a digital return to nature, leaving cybernetic spiders to spin cobwebs on the once ground-breaking computer code that brought them to life?
“I really believe that people can’t wait to really connect and be together again,” Friedrichs says. “We’re all just trying to be creative and find alternatives, right? So, as soon as the world opens up again, people will want the real deal. But, the interesting thing about this period is that there’s so much room for new ideas. I’m sure that a lot of these ideas will actually stay around when we are able to go to festivals again, or to clubs.”
Friedrichs, understandably, isn’t completely sure about the future. Channeling necessary optimism, he believes the new ideas pioneered during this time will become a jumping-off point for whatever comes next.
“I’m sure that these virtual sets or on-location sets will be part of the future as well,” he says, “and not just as an alternative for being able to be at a real festival.”
Learn more about Hydeout and try the platform and register for a free pay-as-you-go pass at hydeoutworld.com.