CES saw the power of dance music firsthand Wednesday night, as Tiësto took the booth at Las Vegas nightclub XS to make social media history.
The DJ/producer and Billboard cover star teamed-up with HP and Intel to stage the first-ever live concert stream on Twitter, for a room full of the sponsors' best clients - some still wearing their CES badges and trade show comfort shoes - and an online audience of thousands.
"The coolest aspect for me is to be the first one to do it," the 42-year-old global superstar said earlier that day. "Twitter is here to stay; it's a long-term thing. And to be a part of it, to help its development, is amazing."
The private, invite-only set also marked the launch of another social media initiative for the man his friends call Tijs: "In The Booth," a 10-part video series meant to document Tiësto's fast-paced, globetrotting life, is set to premiere on the artist's YouTube channel on January 17. Produced by Believe Entertainment Group - the digital content company behind Lebron James' animated Web series "The Lebrons" - the documentary was also underwritten by HP and Intel, and features Tiësto prominently using the brands' products.
"He's the king of electronic dance music, but he's also a guy who gets it," said Believe co-founder William H. Masterson III from the event's "black carpet" (HP's key brand color). "He tries to create experiences for his audience that they've never had before."
For the sponsors, the Tiësto partnership was an ideal way to showcase their top priority for 2012: The new ultrabook category, created by (or according to event signage, "inspired by") processor giant Intel to compete with Apple's MacBook Air. Ultrabooks are meant to be light, thin and powerful; aesthetically pleasing but undeniably high-functioning. While Intel has charged all of its manufacturing partners to try their hands at making the lithe machines - with Acer, Lenovo and Dell also debuting new models at CES - the focus at XS was HP.
With media sponsorships that span other verticals - like "Project Runway" (Season 9 winner Anya Ayoung-Chee made an appearance at the HP booth, and at the Tiësto event) - HP likes to position itself as a facilitator of creativity, for a slightly younger and hipper audience. Its Envy 14 Spectre, a lightweight, visually striking Gorilla Glass-encased 14-incher; and Folio 15, a 15-inch addition to the Folio series, which boasts long battery life, were splashed all over the venue, on video screens, banners, and even in glass cases for revelers to gawk at.
Tiësto played his heart out for the full 90 minutes, blasting his trademark confetti cannons, and dropping a greatest-hits type of set, including Avicii's omnipresent "Le7els," Kaskade's "Turn It Down," a new remix of Oasis classic "Wonderwall," and his own "Maximal Crazy." The UStream video feed appeared in the extended body of a traditional Tweet, on HP and Intel's enhanced Twitter pages. The video player was tiny - but the real-time quality of the platform, now augmented with sight, sound and motion, was undeniably game-changing.
With logos strewn around every corner of the room - sketched on mirrors, projected on walls, even stretched over male dancers in branded unitards - there was no doubt that HP and Intel were in full support of their smiling Dutch DJ star, and his 847,000 Twitter followers.
"Five years ago, no way - brands like this wouldn't have gotten behind a DJ," says Believe co-founder Dan Goodman. "They wouldn't have known who you were talking about. Even now, I think it's early; we're just at the beginning."
"Never before has their been a form of music that's taken hold so hard," said Masterson. "Electronic music is probably the most dominant category globally right now. The way people react to the music, and the enjoyment they get out of it - that tells the entire story."