Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?
Germany's largest telco provider Telekom has made it their mission to let people experience what truly connects us. For Beethoven’s 250th birthday, Telekom connected technology, humans and the whole world: by completing the composer’s 10th symphony.
Very few people had ever seen Beethoven’s last sketches – let alone heard the music they enclosed.
As Telekom is widely known in Germany for its branded entertainment and innovative content, the company made it their mission to take Beethoven’s legacy out of the museum and onto the stage. To be heard by thousands of people – and streamed by many thousands more worldwide.
In 2020, Germany celebrated the 250th birthday of its most renowned composer: Ludwig van Beethoven. A creative genius and one of the most radical innovators of all time.
The country’s leading telco-provider Telekom wanted to honor the composer with a unique project. They gathered world-renowned AI experts, musicologists, music historians, and composers to see if Beethoven’s mind could be recreated through an artificial intelligence. Their goal? To complete his last symphony – an invaluable masterpiece that Beethoven couldn’t finish during his much too short life.
By connecting artificial intelligence with human emotion and creativity, Telekom wanted to turn technology into a tool that connects people from all over the world. A commitment that is so deeply ingrained in the brand Telekom, that they made it their tagline: “Erleben, was verbindet” (“Experiencing connection”).
Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)
When Beethoven died, he left behind 40 sketches for a final 10th symphony. 200 years later, we asked ourselves: Can an artificial intelligence, enhanced by human emotion, complete Beethoven's legacy?
At the time, AI couldn’t continue a piece of music for more than a few seconds. Now, it had to create an entire symphony from a few sketches.
A team of world-renowned AI experts, music historians, musicologists and composers had to create a fundamentally new generation of AI. One that studied Beethoven’s music and his influences, but that also learned to compose on its own. And composing it did: hundreds of phrases each night! The experts selected the most powerful phrases – and gave them back to the AI to elaborate upon.
After three years of work and two million notes, Beethoven’s 10th symphony was finally completed. Though the intense collaboration between artificial intelligence and human emotion.
Describe the strategy (20% of vote)
As Germany’s leading telco brand, Telekom feels a responsibility not only to introduce new technologies to the market but also to ensure their acceptance in society.
When it comes to AI, many people feel intimidated by its potential impact on their lives and livelihoods. Telekom wanted to make people truly experience the positive potential of AI – while at the same showcasing themselves as the country’s leading brand for innovative technologies and exclusive content.
By using AI to complete an unfinished masterpiece of the world’s greatest composer, Telekom leveraged artificial intelligence in a fundamentally new way. The new technology proved to be a tool for human creativity, not a substitute or rival. In appealing to people’s minds as well as their emotions, Beethoven X helped replace the prevalent skepticism of AI with a true fascination for it.
Describe the execution (30% of vote)
BEETHOVEN X was introduced to the public via a Livestream press conference in 2019, including a live performance of one of the AI’s earlier compositions. Two years later, when the 10th symphony had been completed, a free audio teaser was released on Spotify leading people directly to the Livestream event. An online film additionally advertised the free Livestream event all over social media and targeted different audiences.
On the 9th of October 2021, the premiere of Beethoven’s 10th symphony could finally take place. In the Telekom Forum Bonn, 900 guests experienced how the composer’s last sketches had been turned into live music – performed by star organist Cameron Carpenter and the famous Beethoven Orchestra Bonn. Another 2500 guests attended the second concert at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, while thousands of viewers followed the events on Telekom's own TV channel and via a free Livestream on the website.
List the results (30% of vote)
When “Beethoven X – The AI Project” was introduced to the public in 2019, both journalists and bloggers started to report on the project, keeping up with its development and supplying details about its tech background. Shortly after the second concert in October, 590+ publications were counted in print and online media, radio and TV. Overall, a press coverage worth 729 million Euros was reached by the end of October as well as an ad value of 14,3 million Euros (still counting, as this only reflects the first month).
More importantly, however, a live audience of 3000 guests experienced the premiere of Beethoven’s 10th symphony in the Telekom Forum Bonn and in the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg. Additionally, an uncountable number of viewers watched the events on Telekom’s own TV channel and via a free Livestream on their website – strengthening the brand’s reputation as Germany’s leading telco and entertainment provider.