Snapchat launches Crowd Surf

Snapchat is in a perpetual race to stay ahead of Instagram. The success of Instagram Stories, and subsequent failure for Snap to hit its earnings goals, has pushed the company to once again come out with some pretty cool technology. This time, we’re given Crowd Surf, an add on to Snapchat’s Our Story feature, that pieces together users snaps from concerts into what is essentially a music video.

The company has said that Crowd Surf uses its machine learning technology to analyze when lots of people are all recording the same musical performance at the same time. Using those shots, the artificial intelligence can loop together all the different angles, while keeping the music playing smoothly. Check out an example of the feature at the bottom of this post to Lorde’s “Green Light” at Outside Lands in San Francisco.

It’s a pretty neat feature, but completely relies on Snap having enough users that submit content to be able to piece it together. Due to this, we’re likely to only see it be used at large concerts, speeches, and events. If we’re talking in terms of Snap Maps, the heavily red areas, should feature some sort of Crowd Surf content.


Snapchat is sure to try and monetize this new form of content by serving ads to users who watch it, which is where nearly all of it’s revenue comes from. It could however, parlay the success of these channels into partnerships with artists, music festivals, or event centers – drawing them more native attention.

For a brand with a younger demographic, Snapchat is still the place to go. It will be important to see how users react to this new feature, and to align yourself with concerts and events that correspond with your message. Snapchat should see some incremental gains as more users discover, and submit snaps to be featured in Crowd Surf. That is, until Instagram inevitably comes out with it’s own form of the technology.

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