Lyrics to Life: lyric encyclopedia Genius collaborates with Dropbox on pop-up exhibition

Installation artist Peggy Noland created this art inspired by rapper Nicki Minaj for Dropbox and Genius' 'Lyrics to Life' pop-up / Genius

Genius, a music lyrics database best known for its crowd-sourced transcription and translation of popular music, partnered with Dropbox to create Lyrics to Life, a four-day installation in Los Angeles debuting the first weekend of March (March 2-5).

Each installation involves a visual artist creating a work of physical art inspired by artists such as The Notorious B.I.G., Radiohead, Animal Collective, Nicki Minaj and others. Artists building the installations include Portland-based rapper Amine, who doubles as a filmmaker, visual artists such as Devin Troy Strother and Peggy Noland, and lighting designers Nitemind.

“We’re excited to collaborate with visual artists and curators who share a deeply personal relationship with music,” said Max Kotelchuck, head of experiential for Genius. “We can’t wait to see how they channel some of the most memorable lyrics of all time through their art.”

Collaboration is the throughline for this partnership with Dropbox, said Genius’ chief content officer Brendan Frederick. “If you look at Genius, a lot of what we do is the creative process behind the music. Collaboration, especially now, is the foundation for every piece of music that gets made.” This, he said, is evident in Genius’ content series Verified and Framework, which break down the lyrics and production behind hit songs from artists, producers, and music video directors themselves.

The other aspect, which is part of Genius’ online structure and helped to inspire Lyrics to Life, Frederick added, “is that the meaning of these lyrics can be interpreted in many different ways by many different people. That in itself is a form of creative collaboration.”

Dropbox, which introduced Dropbox Paper to general availability in January of last year, also understood the power of collaboration. Chief marketing officer for Dropbox, Carolyn Feinstein said that creators in all forms of art and storytelling all use Dropbox to collaborate.

"Genius was a natural partner to help Dropbox showcase creative energy at our co-presented Lyrics to Life event, she said. "Our shared goal at the event is to showcase the amazing things that can happen when individuals, teams and ideas come together.“

Jonathan Homan, Genius’ regional vice president of brand partnerships, said, “Everything Genius does is centered around bringing music fans closer to the songs and artists they love. Dropbox, having gone through a major rebrand this year, was looking for a partner to help them connect with an audience of music enthusiasts in a way that embodied a passionate, collaborative spirit.” In negotiation for this partnership to take place, the activation felt like a natural fit to both parties, “which in turn allowed Dropbox to reach their target consumer in the most organic way possible.”

The entire experience was planned and curated via the Paper platform, Feinstein added. “The creative community has been particularly vocal about its love for Paper, especially for its aesthetic quality and the fact that it integrates with popular design tools like Sketch, Figma, Trello and InVision.”

Dropbox looks to have its presence felt in the physical world more often in 2018, where “inspiration and collaboration live side-by-side.” 62% of the films made for the Sundance Film Festival, Feinstein noted, were created with the help of the file-sharing site.

Genius looks ahead to more brand collaborations for its content online and in real life. Last week, the platform aired its first branded episode of video series Deconstructed, sponsored by Marvel to promote its Black Panther film. Offline, the platform is celebrating its second-annual mini-music festival, IQ BBQ, this summer, which brings its users face-to-face with recording artists and tests their music knowledge.

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