How Deadmau5 could save the high street

July 21, 2021

“I just roll up with a laptop and a midi controller and ‘select’ tracks [and] hit a spacebar. We all just hit play”.

Deadmau5 wasn’t going to make friends when he said that all DJs do is press play and as expected, many were fuming at his comments. Deadmau5 wasn’t trying to slate his fellow DJs, he was pointing out that anyone can DJ, you make the music in the studio and then stand on stage nodding your head. So why would you go and see someone do this?

Likewise, we’ve all got used to pressing “play” or buy now. Clothes, food, electronics, they’re the same in store and online and given every high street retailer is available at the touch of a button, what’s the point in visiting a store? So, are stores doomed in the same way live DJ sets are?

Deadmau5 doesn’t seem to think so. He knows he can keep producing great songs but that alone isn’t enough to keep fans coming back to see him press play. Aware he’s not just in the music business but the entertainment business he is not just a music producer but an engineer, product designer and motion graphics producer. Cube V3 is his answer to the “sinking cruise ship” of EDM, a unique piece of engineering that features a carbon fibre cube covered in thousands of LEDs that tilts, turns and contains the DJ at the centre. He wants to give his fans more of a performance, one which eclipses the songs they go to hear.

So how could this save the high street?

There are three very crucial learnings from Deadmau5:

  1. Shops are a part of the entertainment business. Online shopping can be very functional but in store we can be emotional, to excite and entertain. To do this we have to think beyond what we know and diversify our thinking to create experiences that fans will love, share, and keep coming back for.
  2. Using technology to turn ideas into reality. Deadmau5 is constantly looking to technology to help his stage design work, it could be through the use of carbon fibre to make it lighter, high performance computers to make the music react to sound or the massive hydraulics and motors that control the tilting and turning of Cube V3. The most important thing is to think up a creative idea and then use technology to make it a reality, rather than simply using technology for technology’s sake.
  3. Iterate, iterate, iterate. Although Deadmau5 has officially made 3 version of the cube he says it’s actually about version 7. The key to making something amazing is to keep working at improving it, this not only makes it a better experience for those that go but also makes it cheaper. Each iteration you learn from the last, and it becomes more and more cost effective.

If we bear these three things in mind it will be possible to add entertainment to the high street. In a world that where entertainment seems to live online there’s a real opportunity for brands to bring entertainment in store in a way that returns shopping to its emotional, exciting, entertaining roots.

I highly recommend watching Deadmau5 talking about how they devised Cube V3, he talks about a lot of the challenges but ultimately why they were driven to create it…plus it’s really cool when you see it in action.

Written by Guy Peters, Planner.