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The XX Stream their New Album and Allows You to Watch it Go Viral

​On September 3, 2012, English Indie pop band The XX launched a website that allowed viewers to stream their album, which is being released on September 11, 2012. The site was developed by 9emelents, a privately-held app development company. It features a world map that traces the locations of visitors who shared a link (Facebook, Twitter or email) with the location of the individual that received the link being shared. Most of the points on the map radiate from North America and Europe, with scattered points in Asia and South America. This is an interesting departure from the majority of referral tracking that goes on, which usually just tracks the URL of the referral, not the physical location of the referrer.

On September 3, 2012, English Indie pop band The XX launched a website that allowed viewers to stream their album, which is being released on September 11, 2012. The site was developed by 9emelents, a privately-held app development company. It features a world map that traces the locations of visitors who shared a link (Facebook, Twitter or email) with the location of the individual that received the link being shared. Most of the points on the map radiate from North America and Europe, with scattered points in Asia and South America. This is an interesting departure from the majority of referral tracking that goes on, which usually just tracks the URL of the referral, not the physical location of the referrer.

In theory, the visual map is a great opportunity to study the spread of a viral link on the internet. However, the visualization itself leaves much to be desired. You may stay on the site for the music, which I would describe as relaxed ambient rock, but as someone who works at a social media agency, I think there were a lot of missed opportunities here to examine the site’s social and viral spread. You cannot zoom in, pause the visualization over a specific date, or determine the platform that was used in the sharing.

Perhaps this data will be released in the future, but at the moment the visualization is nothing more than a cool animation that will catch your attention for 30 seconds maximum. The technology to track the location of shares is not out of reach of most developers, so I expect another company or organization to take a crack at collecting more informative data from a viral link in the near future.

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