One day in 2008, Port Commissioner John Creighton and Seattle Office of Film and Music Director James Keblas landed in Austin for the Seattle Chamber’s Intercity Study Mission. Noting how that city marks its musical heritage with exhibits throughout the airport, Creighton turned to Keblas and asked, “Why don’t we have something like this in Seattle?”
No reason, it turns out. On Tuesday Sea-Tac Airport announced “Experience the City of Music,” an initiative set to bring the sounds of Northwest artists and the spirit of our music scene to Sea-Tac’s busy halls — and then some.
“Seattle is known around the world for its music culture, so it’s great to see this identity embraced and showcased to all the travelers going through the airport,” said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. “Jet City, meet Music City.”
Travelers will hear selections from a starting playlist of 170 local tunes everywhere from ticketing areas to concourses when the initiative launches Saturday.
Emerging artists like Fences and Allen Stone play back to back with Ray Charles, Heart and Nirvana. But that’s just the beginning. Videos showcasing Seattle and Northwest music culture will run on airport/CNN television monitors throughout the airport and on the big screens by baggage claim, reaching many of 80,000 travelers who pass through the airport every day.
Then there are the announcements. “I’m Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. Welcome to Sea-Tac, a no-smoking facility.” “Hi, Ben Gibbard. Please be aware of unattended bags. If you see something unusual, say something to a nearby airport worker or call police at 9-1-1.” Hang around long enough and you might hear Sir Mix-A-Lot. Preview sample announcements here.
Last but not least, travelers will be able to plug into the airport’s free WiFi and stream playlist songs on a web player wherever they are.
The ongoing initiative, a partnership among the Port of Seattle, the Seattle Music Commission and Redmond-based entertainment company PlayNetwork, is expected to cost relatively little. PlayNetwork, which counts Starbucks and XM Radio among its partners, produced the project multimedia pro bono. Other contributors, including KEXP, EMP, MTV, Chase Jarvis, Seattle Channel’s Art Zone, mobile app developer Front Runner and many local musicians and record labels followed suit.
All in all, not a bad deal if you’re a Northwest artist looking for exposure. Coming soon, initiative partners hope: the ability to buy songs straight from the Sea-Tac web player. And here’s a bonus: the initiative is accepting submissions of new music for its playlist (sent to 8727 148th Ave NE Redmond, WA 98052, Attn: Sea-Tac Airport Music Submission).
An initiative launch party kicks off at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Gina Marie Lindsey Arrival Hall on the south end of baggage claim with live performances from local acts Recess Monkey, Carrie Clark, Fly Moon Royalty and The Dusty 45’s.
Mónica Guzmán is a community strategist in startups and media and a digital life columnist for GeekWire. You can find her tweeting away at @moniguzman, subscribe to her public Facebook posts at facebook.com/moniguzman or reach her via email. See a list of her clients on her website. Also see this archive of her weekly GeekWire columns.