Exclusive: Behind-the-scenes at Uber Live

Event spoke exclusively to Sam Hancox, Uber's UK brand and campaign manager, about staging eight simultaneous music gigs for Uber Live.

Too Many T's performed at the Peckham event (Sandra Engström/Sofar Sounds)
Too Many T's performed at the Peckham event (Sandra Engström/Sofar Sounds)

Held on 18 June, the events saw music gigs take place at secret locations across London, Dublin, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Newcastle. Altogether, 24 acts played as part of Uber Live.

To gain entry, users were asked to enter a code into their phone app before 5pm on the day of the event. Those who were successful could call a special free Uber Live service, which would whisk them and a friend off to the nearest secret destination.

"The original idea was conceived several months ago, inspired by Uber Live in Chicago around Lollapalooza," said Hancox. "However, we chose to take a more local approach using Sofar Sounds' roster of rising talent and made Uber Live a reality just six weeks before the event."

A partnership with music events company Sofar Sounds meant Uber had knowledge and access to a roster of under-the-radar venues. These were kept secret, even as guests hopped into their cars, as hundreds of Uber's partner drivers had been co-ordinated to drop guests off at the secret destinations.

Hancox explained the clandestine nature of Uber Live was crucial to the consumer experience. "There is nothing more exciting than trying to find out what the secret is," he said.

"We wanted to generate excitement for what was around the corner. We also knew that the musicians that were playing are from multiple genres and it was important for us to keep people open to new things."

Unsurprisingly, organising eight gigs simultaneously was the biggest challenge for the in-house Uber team, as Hancox explained: "The logistics behind putting on one gig in a city can be crazy. Imagine doing this across eight cities with six shows and 24 artists, all taking place at exactly same time.

"It was not an easy task. This was the biggest on-demand stunt we have ever organised in the UK, so it was vital that the experience was seamless."

"Just the start"

Hundreds of people shared their excitement pre-event, as well as their reactions to the experience, on Twitter and Instagram. "It was great to allow our local teams to see the reactions in real-time, much like how Uber riders experience ordering a car," said Hancox.

The brand and campaign manager stated that, while there were some factors that the company would do differently again, the UK's first Uber Live was considered a success.

He added: "Uber Live is just the start of an exciting expansion of our music partnerships, which I hope will continue to grow. We'd love to do something big again - so watch this space."

More: Global events planned for Spotify and Uber partnership

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