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Here’s how one agency used AI to bring ‘the 27 club’ back to life

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By Ellen Ormesher | Reporter

April 21, 2022 | 4 min read

‘The Lost Tapes of the 27 Club’ won both the Grand Prix and ‘Ad Tech for Good’ category at The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising 2022. Here, we find out more about what went into this successful project.

To draw attention to the music industry’s mental health crisis, creative agency Rethink worked alongside Over The Bridge, a non-profit helping music industry workers with their mental health, using artificial intelligence to create new songs by members of the 27 Club — a group of legendary artists who died at just 27 years old after battling mental health issues.

27 club

The Lost Tapes were launched on Spotify, YouTube music and the campaign microsite

The Lost Tapes of the 27 Club showcases the music that greats such as Hendrix, Winehouse, Morrison and Cobain could have created, had they gotten the mental health support they needed.

The brief

Over 70% of musicians have experienced anxiety and panic attacks, with suicide attempts among music industry workers twice as high as the general population. And this issue isn’t just ignored, it’s romanticized by society’s obsession with so-called “tortured artists”.

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Over The Bridge wanted to increase awareness of the issue of mental health in the music industry by asking what artists could have created had their lives not been cut short.

The idea

Rethink used AI to create new songs by the members of the 27 Club using Magenta, a platform developed by Google. It trained a computer to analyze the audio data from four artists – Hendrix, Winehouse, Morrison and Cobain – and identify specific patterns in their riffs, rhythms, lyrics and melodies.

Then, Magenta generated all new riffs, rhythms, lyrics and melodies in these musicians’ styles, which the agency then used to produce original music – music the 27 Club could have created, had they gotten the mental health support they needed.

It then launched Lost Tapes of the 27 Club on Spotify, YouTube Music and a campaign microsite, where listeners could learn more about music’s mental health crisis as well as discover support resources from Over The Bridge.

Listen to the tracks here.

The results

Soon after launch, music’s most iconic publication, Rolling Stone, covered the campaign, helping generate over 2m album streams from over 160 countries in just one week. This included over 127,000 unique visitors to the campaign microsite, with an average time on site of over 14 minutes. All in all, over 400 publications in 54 countries talked about the campaign across radio, TV and online articles, leading to over 1.7bn impressions and $31m in earned media value.

Over The Bridge saw an 830% increase in musicians and their families reaching out to it for support, ensuring that their music lives on – because even AI will never replace the real thing.

This project was a winner at The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising 2022. Click here to find out which of The Drum Awards are currently open for entry.

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