Co.Design

Watch The World's First Shoppable Music Video

You can now pause music videos to directly purchase what’s on the screen. But do you want to?

Music videos have come a long, long way since back when The Buggles and their new wave aesthetic killed the radio star. SSENSE, a luxury retail company based out of Montreal, has recently introduced what they’re billing as the “world’s first interactive shoppable music video.” And yup, it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. I Think She Ready features Diplo, FKi, and Iggy Azalea all decked out and styled in brands and items carried by the site, while WireWax technology, which enables users to tag videos in essentially the same way they would a Facebook post, makes the "interactive shoppable" part possible.

After pressing play, navigating the video is an exercise in trackpad (or mouse) adeptness. Certain ensembles are tagged with text boxes that appear alerting--or imploring--you to “Shop This Look.” Clicking one will stop the song for a pop-up showing a grid of clothes and accessories featured in the shot. Choosing to view an item--which range from black Rick Owens sneakers for $1,175 to a $675 dress by Helmut Lang--opens up an entirely new window. Closing the pop-up will take you back to the music, but by that point it’s tough to get into the tune. If you click to "Shop This Look" but miss that text box, it’s just like pressing pause. Phew.

The stop-and-start nature of the experience make it a bit off-putting in terms of listening to a track while browsing for buys. But showing cool, attractive folks making clothes look cool and attractive is a tried-and-true approach to selling, and WireWax definitely offers a dynamic way to further blur the lines between art and ad. So have a look and see if you find yourself reaching for your wallet, the mute button, or the little X at the top of the browser tab.

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11 Comments

  • Chambers

    This is definitely NOT the world's first interactive or first shoppable video...but certainly the LEAST interesting.  Pokeware, Liberate TV and Open TV started this trend in 2001.  The latter two folded because they had flimsy technology.  I believe Pokeware is still around.  Lincoln Brown's company, Entertainment Media Works joined the pack in 2006, then folded.  Clickthrough came on the scene years later.   Ssense must know someone at Fast Company to be able to secure such an article, laying false claim to something that they are not entitled to. 

  • Natasha Anand

    Thank you, Chambers! Pokeware developed this technology in 1997, and is most definitely still around. In fact, POKEWARE released the first interactive videos (http://www.mtv.com/news/articl... with artists including, but not limited to, The Black Eyed Peas, Mary J. Blige and The Fugees. 

    Ssense and WireWAX have been receiving a lot of publicity that is very misleading. That being said, I am very happy to see a growing interest for our original technology. Jordan, I would love the opportunity to discuss our growing sphere of influence with you further. 

  • Matt Spangler

    The bigger question is how this type of functionality would drive creativity. Think about it. Music videos would essentially become advertising in order to sell products. Would this open the door for corporations to dictate what we see?

  • Mark Rojas

    Well this video specifically I would not want to stop and buy from but I can imagine an artist that I actually like I would probably stop and shop. Such as when Kanye West wore those shades that became the fad

  • Chuckgreen

    All advertising is storytelling. But this piece wants us to buy into (literally) the idea of  accepting storytelling as advertising. There are lots of ways to subtly place products but this is a little too in-your-face for me. I think we like to follow stories because of the emotions they elicit. But there's a fine line between allowing ourselves to be touched emotionally and the seeming exploitation of a raw sale. The relationship between an artist and their audience is very personal territory. If the artist abuses it, they risk turning their audience off. 

  • BrentFreeman

    I also agree. Has there been any thoughts to integrate this with other forms of media, in particular, video games. I know there is already extensive product placement that may or may not be intended to be obvious, but either way there is probably a time and a media form for using this tool. Pretty cool stuff! 

  • Mary Elise Chavez

    Completely agree with your assessment Jordan, the experience is too stop-and-go. The music is interrupted and the shopping experience is fractured.

    It would be easier to (1) enjoy the music and (2) browse products if the shop frame was integrated to the bottom of the video player so as items came on screen you could view and have the option to click and purchase. Given that music videos move so fast, you could allow the users to click a heart button to love items they see, and have a chance to go back later to purchase (similar to a wishlist).

  • Joe Thompson

     I agree as well.  There are also a ton of other contexual videos out there such as vidibo, seenon, and others.  http://www.vidibo.com/ has a pretty good interface that does some of the things you mentioned.