One question we often get from people who are just learning about Mixhalo is: doesn’t wearing headphones at a live event take away from the collective, social aspect of the event? The answer will surprise you.
Ten times out of ten, this comes up when a new partner is considering working with us. But after they have had a chance to experience Mixhalo themselves, ten times out of ten, this concern fades away entirely. Yes, entirely. That is why partners like Aerosmith, STAPLES Center, The Sacramento Kings, LAFC, Caesars Entertainment and so many more are signing up to work with us.
I admit, this was the first question I had when I first heard about Mixhalo, too. I literally said to a buddy who invited me to a Mixhalo show, “I don’t get it, why would I bring headphones to a concert?” “Aren’t you there for the collective experience with your friends, other fans?” I wondered. “Isn’t it hard enough to talk to your friends at a concert already?”
Fast forward a week or so and I was thirty seconds into my first Mixhalo experience. And it was anything but isolating. For the first time at a concert, I could hear the mix as the band intended. Every note, every whisper, all mixed to perfection and direct to my ears. It was magical–as if all of the distance between me and the band had been removed; as if I was transported onto the stage, standing there next to them.
All the while, I knew my buddy next me was having the same magical experience. I remember the smile coming across my face, and I looked over at him to see he was having the same “wow” moment. We have come to call this “the Mixhalo smile.” What’s more, we still chatted between songs. Sometimes taking an earbud out, sometimes not. You don’t think about it. It just happens. We both agreed it was the best concert experience we had ever had (and pretty soon thereafter I quit my job in corporate law and joined Mixhalo).
After I joined the company, I had the privilege of watching others experience the Mixhalo smile more and more. One experience in particular stands out. We were at a major festival and Mixhalo was set up in a VIP cabana about 150 yards from the stage. The idea was to demo the technology to some friends and industry veterans. There was a moment there I will never forget.
We had about fifteen iPods loaded with Mixhalo and paired with over-ear headphones. So I could just walk up to people with my hands extended and say “hey do you want to try this?” There were about thirty people in the tent. By the end of the night, when Childish Gambino was closing out the evening, we had given out all of our little demo packs. Interestingly, the folks in the cabana had split up into two groups. On the right you had the folks without Mixhalo. They were engaging in the normal, obligatory concert-going behavior. They were looking generally in the direction of the stage, nodding their heads a bit. Some of them had their backs turned to the stage. Several were on their phones. They were there, but they weren’t really there. Then, on the left, you had the Mixhalo crowd. Now, I know this sounds sales-y, but, but I swear to God this is exactly what I observed. These people had their arms draped over one-another’s shoulders. They were jumping up and down together. They were smiling ear-to-ear; singing and shouting along. It occurred to me: this is total front-row behavior. Not one of them was looking at their phone. They were so present…and together!
When I reflect on this more deeply I guess it shouldn’t be so surprising. Music is so powerful. It can evoke strong emotions and lift us to places we didn’t know existed. I guess we all think we go to concerts to get out, to eat and drink, to see a spectacle, and to socialize… and yes it is partly that stuff. However, the primary, foundational reason we are all there is to connect to the music we love, to draw inspiration from it, and feel the collective energy and emotion that it evokes.
Sound is broken at live events. Huge speakers blasting audio at thousands of people over the open air… it just doesn’t work that well. It’s physics. With Mixhalo’s pristine, studio-quality audio delivered directly from the soundboard to your ears, we remember why we came. We remember how powerful and magical music can be. And most of all, when we know the people next to us are experiencing it on the same level, music can bring us together like never before.
Corey Laplante is the Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel at Mixhalo.