Can Snapchat Revolutionize the Live Music Scene? It’s Definitely Trying

By Andrew Daniels

Summer festival season can be brutal on your wallet, but if you don’t have the coin to snag tickets to fests like Pitchfork and Lollapalooza, this time of year could also ruin your mood: People who report higher feelings of FOMO feel less competent and connected with others, according to research in Computers in Human Behavior. In other words, seeing tweets about Frank Ocean’s epic FYF set instead of seeing the crooner live could leave you in a weird place.

But Snapchat is here to help make you feel at least a little better. The app just unveiled its new “Crowd Surf” feature, which collects all the public snaps from a concert and fuses them together without Frankensteining the audio to show you what it was like to be in the crowd. It works surprisingly well, as evidenced by this TechCrunch rip from Lorde’s performance at Outside Lands in San Francisco over the weekend:

Here’s how it works: Snapchat uses A.I. machine-learning technology to determine when people are recording the same performance at the same time, per TechCrunch. When everyone put their phones in the air during Lorde’s “Green Light,” for example, Snapchat combined the clips at all the different angles while keeping the same audio track.

You can check out Lorde’s Crowd Surf demo now on the app’s Stories page. (Scroll down below your friends’ new stories, as well as the featured Discover stories.) Once you play the story, you can toggle between different views to see the performance from multiple audience vantages, including in the front row, from the nosebleeds, and on the stage, right next to the Kiwi pop goddess.

Snapchat says it’ll begin rolling out Crowd Surf at major events in the future, including more festivals, football games, parades, and political rallies. But as TechCrunch points out, in order for the feature to realize its full potential, a bunch of people will have to shoot and submit snaps from the same moment, which could get dicey.