As hundreds of creators, partners and press took their seats for the fifth annual Snap Partner Summit Keynote — delivered by a handful of Snap executives across different fields — a video began to play that called into question how basic the human eye really is.
“What if we could literally see more?” the narration asked. “With Snapchat, we don’t have to settle.”
That idea underlines the many new developments unveiled by Snap on Wednesday (April 19) at Barker Hanger in Santa Monica, Calif., including CEO Evan Spiegel‘s concluding announcement that the company’s innovative chatbot, My AI — which was initially launched exclusively for Snapchat+ subscribers (who now number over 3 million, Spiegel announced) — is now available for free to all of the app’s 750 million monthly active users and can now send and receive its own Snapchats.
Music was on the agenda, too, of course. To kick things off, Snap head of talent development Brooke Berry discussed how musicians are growing their fanbases through the app while also shouting out the Snapchat Sounds Creator Fund, which helps musicians in the United States and India monetize their growth.
While the creator fund was introduced in a Billboard cover story last summer, along with the announcement of Snap’s multi-year partnership with Live Nation, the Keynote also revealed that Snap is doubling down on augmented reality (AR) in music — and that the Live Nation partnership has grown immensely since it was first unveiled.
News on the music front was revealed by Snap head of global AR product strategy Carolina Arguelles Navas, who noted that 85% of Snapchatters already use the app to enhance the live music experience. Her first announcement was to reveal a new integration between Snap and Disguise, a leader in live event visualization and virtual production technology, which will help bring Snap’s AR technology to some of the largest venues around the world. At future shows, fans will be able to see AR visuals that interact and build upon the performer’s on-stage visuals by using the Snapchat camera via Disguise RenderStream. One major artist — Kygo — is already on board, teaming with Snap and Disguise to level up his summer concerts using the company’s experiential AR.
Under the Live Nation partnership, Snap’s AR technology has already been utilized at a dozen festivals, including Electric Daisy Carnival and Lollapalooza, where last year Snapchat launched a handful of new AR features such as its AR Compass, which uses GPS wayfinding to show an interactive 3D map; Friend FindAR, which helps festival attendees find their crew; Festival Planner, which lets fans note must-see sets and share custom schedules; and Lollaland, where last year a virtual purple robot and hot dog could be seen through the Snapchat camera when a user was within the Chicagoland area during the weekend of the festival.
That brings us to Snap’s second major music announcement on Wednesday: Under the Live Nation partnership, the company will now bring the same AR experience to 16 additional festivals worldwide, including Lollapalooza Paris and the United Kingdom’s Reading and Leeds Festivals, with hopes to expand to even more festivals in the future.
Elsewhere at the Keynote, Snap announced it will bring its new augmented reality (AR) Mirrors to retailers, allowing consumers to virtually try on outfits and determine their best fit — which attendees were later invited to try for themselves while being fit for custom MadHappy tees and sweatshirts and yellow Snap-themed Nikes. Additionally, Snapchat filters can now be applied directly to fans’ faces at live sporting events via jumbotrons, creating communal moments of laughter — à la what the so-called “kiss cam” has done for years.