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Sound-Free Concert

Industry: Culture, Recreation & Sport
Media:Ambient & Interactive
Style: Minimalism
Why is this work relevant for Entertainment Lions for Music?

Today diversity is celebrated in every field, and people respect each other for who they are. That holds also for Japan’s hearing-impaired, said to number 5.5 million (WHO). But concerts have never held much appeal for the hearing-impaired — until now. The sound-free concert, by sharing music with people of all abilities through the power of technology, enabled the hearing-impaired to “experience” music for themselves. It thus fostered a new way of thinking and a new trend.


The Japan Philharmonic Orchestra is dedicated to the mission of sharing the joy of classical music with people everywhere. But lately, the only people who went to classical concerts were classical music lovers. We therefore decided to drum up new fans by bringing classical music to those least likely to go listen to an orchestra — the hearing-impaired.

Describe the creative idea

Don’t just listen to the music. Feel it.
Given that music, light, and vibrations all consist of waves, the hearing-impaired should be able to enjoy music too. The idea was not to augment the sounds they could not hear, it was to enable them to enjoy music in the form of vibrations and light, even if they could not hear it. And because the hearing-impaired cannot hear, their sense of touch and sight are often far more acute than those of ordinary people. We believe when music appreciation becomes a musical experience, an entirely new way to enjoy music will emerge.

Describe the strategy

Music for all.
The challenge we set ourselves was to convey the joy of music to people of all abilities. But how exactly could we do that? We hit on the idea of reaching out to the community with the least opportunity to come into contact with music, namely the hearing-impaired. The strategy: Don’t just build strong ties with this new audience (the hearing-impaired), turn them and their community of supporters into classical music fans by giving them a new way to enjoy music.

Describe the execution

We developed the Sound Hug, a musical device that converts sounds into light and vibrations, and organized what we called the Sound-Free Concert, which the hearing-impaired could enjoy through their sense of sight and touch. With the Sound Hug, music is felt in the form of vibrations from a spherical vibration speaker. The spherical speaker glows in different colors depending on the musical pitch (blue for low tones, red for high tones) so that melodies difficult to convey through vibrations alone can be followed with the eye. This musical device makes music accessible to all.

Describe the outcome

• From classical music to other musical genres
The Sound Hug has since been featured at J-pop music festivals, among other venues. It is thus bringing more and more hearing-impaired people the joy of music of every genre. It is already slated for use at more concerts in 2019.

• 96% new concert-goers, 98% satisfied with the experience
This initiative created a new fan base and a new market: the hearing-impaired, who never went to classical concerts before.

• Creating a new musical experience
In this age that celebrates diversity, we have brought society a new way to enjoy music: not with your ears but with your whole body.
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Bronze Entertainment Lions for Music
Use of Music Technology or Innovation
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