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Snap debuts AI-powered Crowd Surf at Outside Lands

Crowd Surf, new to Snapchat, uses machine learning to stitch together audience videos to create an interactive, multiple-angle account of live shows

By Jon Chapple on 15 Aug 2017

Lorde, Outside Lands 2017, San Francisco, Snapchat Crowd Surf

Lorde performs at Outside Lands 2017

image © Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Outside Lands

Snapchat developer Snap Inc. used last weekend’s Outside Lands festival in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, as the debut for a new feature for the app: Crowd Surf, which stitches together audience ‘snaps’ to create a multi-angle video account of a concert or live event.

Snap deployed Crowd Surf during Lorde’s performance on Sunday 13 August, synchronising the audio using artificial intelligence from multiple fans filming the New Zealand singer to create an interactive Snapchat ‘story’ in which viewers can cycle between different crowd perspectives using a button on their smartphone screen.

Tech site Mashable has a video demonstrating Crowd Surf during Lorde’s song ‘Green Light’, showing multiple angles, including crowd selfies and the view from stage left.

A Snap spokesperson says Crowd Surf will be available at select events in future.

According to Mashable, with Crowd Surf Snap “hope[s] to bolster its Stories feature so that users submit to them more and also spend more time watching them. That’s good for Snap Inc. The more time users spend with Stories, the more likely they’ll be served an ad, which contributes to the majority of Snap’s revenue.” Snap Inc. posted disappointing financial results in Q2 2017 with a loss of US$443 million, below Wall Street forecasts.

Both Live Nation and AEG Live/Presents have agreed commercial partnerships around their festivals with Snap, with advertisers and sponsors using Snapchat to target festivalgoers. The former has, since last September, also sold tickets on the platform.


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