Polaroid uses music with radio-style speakers and broadcasts

Polaroid uses music with radio-style speakers and broadcasts

The four players have a retro feel, as do the new music stations Polaroid has created to play through.

Polaroid International BV, the brand that has been a staple in the still photography industry since 1937, sees music in its future.

On Wednesday, the instant camera manufacturer unveiled four Bluetooth music players and an online radio streaming service, Polaroid Radio.

Although entering the world of music sounds like quite an exit, Polaroid has long had musical genes in the making, Polaroid President Oskar Smolokowski said in an interview Wednesday. Soon after he joined the company in 2012, he discovered a sketch made in the 1970s illustrating the idea of ​​incorporating music into Polaroid images. Now, the 30-year-old has taken a step towards making it happen.

“We need to be open to new horizons in this world of creativity,” Smolokovsky said at Wednesday’s launch event in Manhattan, where dozens of speakers of various shapes, sizes and colors sat atop a pyramid of red and pink plastic boxes. “We felt like we were a little bit possessive with instant photography. We know what we’re doing. But we wanted to get past that.”

He said that music, like photography, is at the intersection of art and science – the core of Polaroid product design.

The new product line includes four speakers, from the more portable P1 and P2 to the larger P3 and P4, as well as an online music service called Polaroid Radio, which the company describes as an “FM-nostalgia” radio station.

Polaroid players

About the size of an apple, and with the weight of two baseballs, the P1 is the company’s smallest and most portable portable music player. At $59.99, the square-shaped model can easily fit into a bag or attach to a backpack via a carabiner clip. It is IPX5 waterproof, which means it is splash and splash resistant. The P1 has a battery life of 10 hours and comes in black, red, yellow and blue colours. It’s also the only Polaroid speaker that doesn’t work with Polaroid Radio – I’ll explain that later.

Priced at $129.99, the P2 works with all the features in the Polaroid Music app and comes in an additional gray color. With just over twice the size of the P1, the pill-shaped P2 is still a portable player that can be wrapped around your wrist or attached to bags. All players have a red “play” button which is the hat tip of the classic red shutter button on Polaroid cameras. Like the P3 and P4, the P2 has a battery life of 15 hours.

With a handle attached to the top, the Polaroid P3 ($189.99) is similar to a boom box and is available in the same colors as the P2. The biggest speaker, the P4, is meant for a party because it can fill an entire room with music. You can set the speaker on a table with the knob on top or attach a separate stand on its right side to stand vertically. It is the size of a flat watermelon. Priced at $289.99, the P4 speakers come in black and yellow.

Polaroid Radio

All four players have Bluetooth connections and stereo pairing so listeners can connect them to their phones or computers. But the unique thing is the old analog dial at the top of the P2, P3, and P4, which allows users to choose from five Polaroid radio stations and change volumes. The P1 also has a scrollable dial in the corner, but it’s only for volume control.

Polaroid Radio can be accessed on the Polaroid Music app and on the web. It’s like Spotify or Pandora for free, with no ads – the only cost is that listeners have to give up control over the music they listen to. A traditional radio station! How retro – just like having a separate camera away from your phone.

“We’ve created something between a real radio station and a playlist, where we’re broadcasting (music) that’s like FM live, so you can tune in,” says Smolokowski. “We’re working on organizing with great offline DJs and DJs.” (A Polaroid radio does not actually work with electromagnetic waves; it must be connected via Bluetooth to a “brain,” such as a phone or computer.)

Press the “Music” button and you will be connected to one of the 5 curated Polaroid stations. Swiping on the dial, you can experience a hit-wave station filled with hip-pop, Latin-pop and Afrobeats by artists including Nigerian singer Berna Boy and Spanish singer-songwriter Rosalia. There is Poly Chrome, a techno from works like Kraftwerk and Northern Ireland duo Bicep. Iris station has Erykah Badu or Cleo Sol’s R&B, jazz and funk music. Royal Pine carries rock, folk and soul from musicians such as Joni Mitchell and Maggie Rogers. Itchy Teeth plays alt-pop and alt-indie songs by bands like Talking Heads and Tyler the Creator.

Each station’s playlist is crafted by curators like Bianca Lexis, Hannah Faith and Rachel Grace Almeida, and groups like ABOE and Girl’s Don’t Sync, who sometimes jump like a radio host to deliver songs.

If you like a song, you can press the Like button on top of the speaker so that the song is saved to the Polaroid Music app or the Apple Music account you link to the app. Spotify support will be available soon.

At launch, Polaroid Radio is available in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal and Austria. More areas to come.

Polaroid doesn’t leave the camera world either. The company plans to launch its first continuous focus camera in 2023, which will detect movement of the subject, refocus accordingly, and show better depth of field in images compared to previous fixed focus models.

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