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Live Nation rigged an entire concert to measure the biometrics of music fans

Live Nation rigged an entire concert to measure the biometrics of music fans
[Photo: courtesy of Live Nation]

Live Nation has conducted a first-of-its-kind experiment involving music fans, brain waves, and the power of singer/musician St. Vincent.

While there have been biometric-fueled parties in the past, this experiment was done in partnership with Cisco and TBD Labs, and had a team of neuroscientists to analyze the results. For the fun, Live Nation hooked up a venue full of concertgoers with EEG wearable headbands and skin sensors, and let St. Vincent rip. They then measured the concertgoers’ biometric response to listening to sweet tunes with like-minded music fans.

At a Cannes Lions presentation this week, Live Nation unveiled the results of the experiment and, unfortunately for music-loving homebodies, they show that dragging yourself to a concert on a Friday will result in three times more emotional intensity than listening to a recorded album alone in your bedroom, wearing sweatpants and eating Wheaties.

To make that determination, researchers hooked up fans with EEG wearable headbands that measured brain-wave activity and skin sensors that measured galvanic skin response and sweat. The aim was to learn what was going through the minds (and skin) of music fans enjoying music together. Within moments into the start of the show, participants experienced, on average, a 53% increase in emotional intensity as measured through galvanic skin response (in other words, sweat). Over 90% of respondents experienced an increase in attention and engagement, and a mood increase five times higher than how they felt before the show.

And all that fist-pumping? That’s an outward sign of synchronized movement, and that generates a boost of the “bonding hormone” oxytocin.

All in all, 90% of participants had a favorable shift in brain activity, specifically showing an uptick in the alpha power that measures engagement and attentiveness. In short, if you want to feel alive, go see live music. Or just watch a St. Vincent live stream in your bedroom and pretend. We won’t tell!

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