At the end the performers, most of whom were meeting for the first time, lingered on stage to congratulate and connect with each other. In between, it was clear that every musical trick in the book would be used, even the darling trio of kids who played a Rachmaninoff valse, and include the classic hits all the way to Mason Bates' amazing electronics. But the inserts of user-created video about the performers, which fit perfectly in the square-framed portion of the wall above the stage, did much to connect the audience with the artists in a way that resonated to a time when we would have been more intimate with their histories just because the symphony was more tightly tied to community. It reminded me of a comment that Seth Godin made in one of our early webinars: that marketing in a 2.0 world was really more like "marketing" in 1870 than in 1970.
Among the smart people in our box was Albert Wenger, one of our bloggers on MyVenturePad and a partner, along with Fred Wilson, in Union Square Ventures. Albert made the point that this is just the beginning, both for the YouTube symphony and for classical music, of a larger phenomenon that is "leading toward something that we can only imagine now." Later, he explained: "I think I was talking about this being an example of the beginnings of social changes that no one can imagine where they will end up. The idea that you might be able to assemble an orchestra this way is an example of how things might be more fluid in the future but it's really impossible to predict where it will all lead (which wont' stop entrepreneurs from trying to invent it.)"
Purely from the standpoint that volume trumps everything in social media, I wonder how many hours of content were generated in the contest leading up to the New York performance? And how much will now be produced in its aftermath - as the artists continue to connect and collaborate? And in the great, global jumble that is YouTube, what new audiences will be found to "download, download, download?"