How do you combine tech, connectivity and Eurovision to promote tolerance after a dark year for the European continent, troubled by terror attacks and the biggest refugee crisis since World War Two?
One of the creatives behind a new campaign to create what is being pitched as the world's first crowdsourced singing voice told The Local why he hopes the unusual attempt will go viral just in time for Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm next month.
“We started to look at the values of Eurovision, which are to create bonds across the borders of Europe and thought that those are our values too. And connectivity is part of that,” said Karl Skoog, brand concept and engagement manager at Tele2, the official telecom operator for this year's Europe-wide music contest.
Around 1,000 people have so far taken part in the 'Sound of Europe' project, by downloading a kind of karaoke app and singing along to the specially-made song 'One' by Swedish producer Pontus Winnberg.
Anyone can join, and listen as the voices get added in real-time on the website, and after the curtains close on the Eurovision finals at Stockholm's Globe Arena on May 14th, they will all be merged together and sold to the public with all proceeds going to Swedish state broadcasters' charity Radiohjälpen.
The app can be downloaded on the 'Sound of Europe' website. Photo: Press image
Skoog said that he hoped even more Europeans would join in to take part in the song effort, which is not linked to but follows 'The Swedish Number', a massively successful tourism campaign based on a similar theme of crowdsourcing and volunteers helping out.
“I think there are many right now who want to take a stance against what is happening in society,” he said.
“Today, there are walls and borders everywhere. People are divided into religions, nationalities, sexuality… we want to strike a blow against that. Music unites and this is what we at Tele2 can do to contribute.”
Sweden's public broadcaster SVT, in charge of organizing the Stockholm Eurovision Song Contest finals, has already said that this year's competition is going to have a theme called 'Come Together', which celebrates all people and draws attention to the refugee crisis.
“It is more necessary than ever before that we unite and join together, and that is literally what we do in Eurovision, where most of the countries in Europe meet together,” its website reads.
Winnberg, who is part of the Swedish music wonder and has produced hits for artists such as Madonna and Britney Spears, said he was proud to be part of the effort.
“The song's message speaks for itself and I am convinced that many will appreciate the initiative and contribute with their voice to create a more open and inclusive society,” he said in a statement.
And with less than a fortnight to go until the first of the semi-finals kicks off, Eurovision-crazy Sweden and Stockholm are already bristling with excitement, with Skoog admitting he's looking forward to the event too.
“Yes, absolutely. I completely agree with the values and I watch it every year,” he laughed.