KUT Maps the Past

The University of Texas sponsored radio station, KUTX, prides itself on unpredictable  playlists and critically acclaimed sound waves. Few ads, sound perspectives, heh.

Recently, KUT launched the Austin Music Map. The digital interaction piece is no doubt to advertise their brand of community funded radio station, and it does so very well, but the project is interesting to me because it provides a unique, real use to any listeners in the city.

The Map’s main function is something like Google Maps meets Yelp, a well designed guide to every music venue in Austin with stories and media included. The map also updates for newbie venues, including the over-done dive that opened last week and will likely close in the next quarter.

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What’s more brilliant, and on-brand for KUTX, is the collection of “flashback” soundbites you can dig through. These include interviews and performance clips from classic blues shows, and mid-90’s parties. Even better, the memories are coupled with endless photos that remind many of the original Austin, a look that forced screen prints and ads will never quite capture.

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Users can also input their own stories, adding to their effort to mystify the many layers of Austin’s scene.

Lead us to corners of the city we never would have known about before. Take a picture of your favorite band, record sound in a beloved haunt, let us in on the city’s best kept musical secrets.

A representation of Austin’s “music evolution” has never been so accessible. It definitely speaks to KUT’s varied market, including the older crowd who’s been listening for decades and UT kids who are open to more appreciation. Overall, I’d say that’s the strategy: appreciate the music around you. It’s as if this idea sparked after KUT said, “This time, let’s show them how to appreciate the audio through the visual.”


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