We like Mabel a lot. We’re excited about many of the ways that music fans are sharing their love for music using mobile phones and social apps. But we apologise for raising a weary eyebrow at news that Mabel played “the world’s first vertical gig” for Samsung at “London’s new destination to experience the latest in culture and innovation, powered by Samsung technology”.
The deal, brokered by Universal Music UK’s creative agency Globe, saw Mabel play a set on a nine-metre high three-storey stage. The point being that the setup lent itself to fans taking vertical (rather than landscape) photos and videos to share in their social apps of choice.
“Perfect for that Instagram story shot,” as the press release described it. Or: “A moment that’s tailored to how they like to capture and view photos and videos on their smartphone,” as Samsung’s Tanya Weller put it.
Don’t get us wrong: it’s an inventive deal for UMG and Mabel to have scored. But suggestions that this is solving an actual problem for fans or artists (“Vertical videos mean that fans need vertical stages to film on their phones,” tweeted Music Week yesterday, for example) are pushing it. There’s definitely something in a trend for artists and their live staging to deliberately create ‘Instagramable moments’ for fans though. But that’s about more than just vertical sets.