Things You Should Know: Silent Discos

Welcome to Things You Should Know, our ongoing series on Millennial-fueled trends, events, slang, and memes that will keep you up-to-date on what is happening in youth culture.

Imagine entering a concert venue flooded with neon lights, illuminating thousands of people energetically dancing and swaying… in silence. You have entered into the world of the Silent Disco, a music and event phenomenon that is enticing Millennials to tune in, by tuning out everything but the music.

The Silent Disco hinges on wireless headphone technology. On arrival, attendees are given headphones that utilize radio frequency transmission to broadcast sound through and around any physical objects, and allow partygoers to choose from two or three music channels that they can switch between whenever they like. As opposed to traditional speaker systems, headphones allow listeners maximum sound quality and intensify music events for a more personal experience.

These events bypass the restrictions of traditional concerts because of their silence. Silent Discos allow young adults to party all night long without the troubles of noise violations. The idea for silent concerts was originally conceived in the ‘90s by eco-activists to reduce noise disruption in outdoor spaces. What appeals to Millennials today ranges from rapid exposure to different music genres to vastly improved sound to the feel of a group experience that is poignantly customized. Everyone is dancing, but not necessarily to the same song, and the element of music choice makes each person’s experience unique. Silent Discos allow Millennials to literally dance to the beat of their own drum, engaging in a collective atmosphere while also tuning in for an experience that is all their own.

The popularity of Silent Discos has spread rapidly across…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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