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Brief Published: 25 Sep 2015

Uber Surge Pricing Unlocks Free Music

US electro pop duo Yacht's latest song is available for free streaming via a dedicated website – but only when international ride-sharing app Uber begins charging surge pricing for passengers in LA.

Developed by advertising agency BBDO New York, the site for the aptly named song LA Plays Itself makes use of the city's notoriously awful traffic by accessing Uber's open API data. When Uber's algorithms hike fare prices due to high demand, Yacht's site starts streaming the song and its accompanying video. In particularly dire times, when Uber ride charges reach 2x surge-pricing rates, a bonus Darq E. Freaker remix is unlocked.

The project nudges the connotations of a negative everyday experience towards something more positive by offering a perk to offset the pricing peak. On the website, Yacht say they "want to play (the song) for you when you need it most".

This exercise in circumstantial content delivery takes location-based services and geofenced content a step further. Earlier this year, we saw projects like Williamsburg Bridge Radio, and an album from Swedish band John Moose that can only be played in a wooded area.

For more on these projects and the impact of geolocation on content, see our report on Location-Based Mobile Marketing, and also consider State of Mobile: Summer 2015. For more on location-based activations in retail, see Pop-Ups Evolve: Tech & Social Media.