Meet Singer Daria Musk And The Low-Carbon Google+ Concert Of The Future

Last Friday I was at Joe’s Pub in NYC to witness Daria Musk’s live interactive global concert (videos below). Daria is a very talented singer-songwriter who has become an internet sensation rising faster than sales of the latest iPad.

While Joe’s Pub seats only about 160, Daria’s interactive concerts reach more than a thousand times as many people online around the world through the technology of Google+ Hangouts. And that means they have a much lower carbon than those deafening big stadium concerts.

For those raised on the old-fashioned way of attending concerts, you can read about the new wave in the new Rolling Stone article on Daria, which explains:

Singer-songwriter Daria Musk had much to celebrate last Friday when she performed at New York City’s Joe’s Pub. It has been one year almost to the day since she held her first Google+ Hangout concert — a musical version of a video teleconference where she and producer R.A.M. Rich perform their ornately textured pop music on-camera, interacting with people around the globe — so she had dubbed the night her Hangoutiversary.

Because of these concerts’ success, over 1.8 million people have added Musk to their Google+ circles (the equivalent to “liking” a page on Facebook) since July 2011. “You’re here,” she told the audience. “When you play online for too long, you start worrying about seeing people in person.” But despite playing to a live audience of up to about 160, she broadcast her show online, reaching what she estimates as hundreds of thousands of viewers.

Here is just one of her songs from the evening, which also shows how the interactive Google+ hangout feature works:

As you can hear, she has a great voice. She is also a talented songwriter. As readers of my new book, Language Intelligence: Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga, know, people don’t just get the language intelligence needed to write lyrics by accident.

In the book I give the example of Bob Dylan, a true master lyricist. He learned from studying the great poets and lyricists. In fact, his desire to improve his language intelligence was so great that he regularly visited the New York Public Library’s microfilm room to read newspapers from the 1850s and 1860s. Why? As he explains in his autobiography, “I wasn’t so much interested in the issues as intrigued by the language and rhetoric of the times.”


I was able to spend time with Daria and her family before and after the concert, where I learned her mother was a teacher and Shakespeare lover who actually runs a Shakespeare repertory company for the younger crowds. Studying Shakespeare and listening to his plays is one of the best ways to get language intelligence.

The big news of Daria’s concert was that thanks to musicians like her, Google has amped up the quality of the sound in its hangouts:

Her other cause for celebration, though, was that she was secretly using a new audio feature, called “Studio Mode,” that Google+ will begin offering today, vastly improving the way music sounds in its Hangout sessions. “We were trying to be super-discreet about it because it wasn’t announced yet,” Musk tells Rolling Stone. “But we have 1.8 million fans, so when you do something like that, people notice.”

Previously the audio in Hangouts was of the same quality as a typical YouTube, since users could easily share them there, and they were geared more toward speaking. Now they boast a wider audio spectrum that reflects studio-quality sound. According to Google+ Project Manager Loren Groves, it’s something that’s become necessary as Hangouts by musicians like Musk earn record viewership.

Of course for me, the big story isn’t so much the high-quality audio, though that certainly enhances the user experience. It’s that we are moving towards technology that allows a low-carbon in-home experience that begins to match the high-carbon in-person one — and indeed that offers certain additional benefits such as the ability to interact with friends and people around the globe (and not having to deal with the hassle of driving to and from widely crowded venues).


This isn’t going to replace traditional concerts anytime soon, but ultimately we are all going to have to use a lot less carbon, and as the quote attributed to Emma Goldman goes, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.

If you want to add Daria to your Google+ circle, click here. The full concert is below: