This MP3 Experiment Shows What 2,000 Smartphone Speakers Sound Like

By Darren Orf on at

Improv Everywhere is an NYC-based guerrilla prank group who's various missions have included planning a massive Best Buy infiltration and turning a busy New York subway stop into an underground spa. For their latest social experiment, the team gave 2,000 people instructions via headphones, severely confusing local residents.

The MP3 experiment is an ongoing series where participants download an MP3 track from Improv Everywhere's website and follow the track's instructions at a specific time and place. This instalment's locale was in Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn where 2,000 participants played a quick game of red light/green light, ran away screaming in every direction, and just generally drawing the attention of any passing pedestrian. But the coolest moment comes around the four-minute mark as 2,000 smartphone speakers play the same lilting melody at the same time.

Improv Everywhere describes the experiment:

This wouldn't have been possible back in the days when people participated with iPods, but now that most everyone is using a phone with a speaker, we wanted to hear what it would sound like if we could hear everyone's device at once. Tyler Walker composed an awesome piece that sounds pretty boring by itself, but was designed to sound beautiful when played by thousands of not quite in sync devices.

[YouTube]