(RED)WIRE interactive Music and Culture Service for (RED)
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Using arts and new media to fight AIDS in Africa
In 2006, Bono and Bobby Shriver founded (RED), a brand that unites the incredible collective power of consumers with an innate need to help others. (RED) is working to eliminate AIDS in Africa by increasing consumer awareness and impact. The sales of (PRODUCT)RED and (RED) events have generated more than $112 million for the Global Fund, the dominant financier of programs developed to prevent the 4,100 AIDS-related deaths that occur daily in sub-Saharan Africa.
(RED), in looking to create its first proprietary offering and a sustainable giving stream, enlisted IDEO to design a digital music service. An international team of designers developed a distinctive playback experience that encourages subscribers to contribute to the cause while introducing them to new music and artists.
Each week, (RED)WIRE delivers two songs (an exclusive from a major artist and a release from an emerging artist), along with a fun or inspiring piece that’s not music (a digital short, photography, or a reading from artists, actors, and others). Well-known artists contributing world-premiere songs and videos to the service include Coldplay, Death Cab for Cutie, Dixie Chicks, Jay-Z, John Legend, Kid Rock, The Killers and Elton John, The Police and Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, and U2. Additionally, (RED)WIRE gives subscribers a window into the impact of (RED) dollars at work in Africa. One such view into (RED)’s work will be through a video collaboration between actor Djimon Hounsou and director Jesse Dylan.
IDEO went beyond the brief to create a screen-based tool and social media experience that lets subscribers connect more deeply with content through community. A dynamic 3-D element pairs songs with evocative, unfolding photography collections curated by a track’s artist. As songs travel the (RED)WIRE network, listeners can add their own images, words, and phrases. They can also track the contributions of their friends and family by linking (RED)WIRE to their existing social networks and contacts. This allows users to see the collective impact of their network on HIV in Africa, as well as know when their friends and family have uploaded images or created messages. The music player, built on the Adobe AIR platform, runs on all PC and Macintosh computers.
Half of the $5-a-month subscription goes directly to the Global Fund, and every five subscribers generate enough money each month to buy antiretroviral medicine for someone living with HIV in Africa. A graphic element shows subscribers their impact through (RED)WIRE — each month every million subscribers, for instance, keep 300,000 people with HIV alive.
(RED)WIRE launched December 1, World AIDS Day, with songs broadcast exclusively on MSN and W Hotels hosting live listening parties throughout North American that evening.
Project date: 2009