Black Eyed Peas' 360 degree immersion iPhone video: cool idea, lame execution

The increasingly taste-free has put his brand behind a new company: will.i.apps. They, um, create apps. The first one, called BEP360, is basically a really high-budget ad for the band's shitty new album, The Beginning. The centerpiece of the app is a music video for "The Time (Dirty Bit)" that puts you in the middle of the video. So you can point your phone in any direction and see different parts of the room.

The potential here is mind-boggling. Not only for what it allows you to do right now, but the hinted promise of what might be, years down the road. Imagine a music video that you could walk around in, a virtual reality in home media.

We're a lot of really huge technological leaps away there, but think what just a mildly creative mind could do with this as it is. You could experience a video in an infinite number of ways, depending on when you look where. Take a song with some substance, and you could give it a far more complex visual context.

Of course, the Peas took this and shot their video of a room full of people dancing. So, everywhere you look, people dancing.

The other problem here is that the video is packaged up with a whole lot of other, significantly less interesting, crap. There's an animated album cover and some lame social networking features and a puzzle game. The app costs $2.99, and we're not sure who will be willing to buy it. The Black Eyed Peas are not a band with a diehard fan base interested in their overall message and willing to support every facet of their existence. They are a singles band capable of getting down-the-middle dance music into a critical mass of social gatherings.

Strip the app down to just the video and use the astronomical amount of money it undoubtedly cost to produced this and you might actually be able to do something that couldn't done before.

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Kiernan Maletsky is Westword's music editor. His writing has appeared in alt-weeklies around the country as well as Miley Cyrus's mom's Twitter feed.
Contact: Kiernan Maletsky