Inside Google Music's Launch Party
Mr. Brainwash Studio in Hollywood was bathed in pink lighting for Wednesday's Google Music party, in which the retailer teamed up with T-Mobile to celebrate its launch with a star studded soiree, orchestrated by PMK*BNC.
After an excruciating hour-long wait outside for non-VIPs -- and several pushy security guards -- guests rushed by the pink carpet between celebrity appearances to be welcomed into a large, open studio with a four-sided bar and plenty of free alcohol. Along every wall were stations not unlike those found in any wireless retail store, equipped with an Android phone, a large screen and a friendly T-Mobile rep ready to show guests how to access all that Google Music has to offer.
Among the guests inside the graffiti-laced studio, complete with oversized spray can décor, were Ashlee Simpson, Miley Cyrus and boyfriend Liam Hemsworth, Serena Williams, Jaleel White, Nick Simmons, Audrina Patridge, John Stamos, Jamie Chung, Shenae Grimes, Dane Cook and former Entourage castmates Jerry Ferrera, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Kevin Connolly and Emmanuelle Chriqui, who joined former ‘Nsync member Lance Bass both on the carpet and inside the party.
The main bar was separated from the stage by a wall, though all areas of the studio were equipped with oversized screens, allowing guests to mingle between rooms without missing a moment of the action. Following R3hab and Dirty South, Busta Rhymes took the stage to deliver a medley of old favorites (“Jump Jump”) and new hits (Chris Brown’s “Look at me Now”). At the end of his set, the legendary rapper took a moment to wish Google Music a happy birthday and make a special announcement of his own.
“Google Music, today is your birthday,” he said. “To everyone else – I’m officially on Cash Money Records.” Busta used the opportunity to send well wishes to his new labelmate Drake, who took the stage later that night. Busta's forthcoming album, E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event) 2: End Of The World is slated to make its debut via Google's new music platform, though Cash Money's involvement in the release remains unclear. A representative from the label did not immediately return THR's request for comment.
After a short break, Maroon 5 hit the stage for a full set including “Moves Like Jagger,” “Harder to Breathe,” “Wake Up Call” and even “Sunday Morning.” Coming off a less-than-stellar Saturday Night Live performance, the group left no fan dissatisfied, delivering a solid mixture of their infectious melodies and Adam Levine’s signature falsettos. For their finale, Levine welcomed Gym Class Heroes’ Travie McCoy to the stage for a performance of their smash hit single, “Stereo Hearts.”
Undoubtedly the man of the hour, Drake’s voice could be heard over the loudspeakers before audience members caught a glimpse of the Toronto native. “I flew here from New York today,” he said from backstage. “L.A., I need you to do me a favor... Show me a good fucking time.” And with that, Drake exploded onto the stage spitting the lyrics to “Show Me a Good Time” off his debut release, Thank Me Later.
The room’s hue turned from pink to blue as Drake raised a glass to the infatuated audience. As if his lyrics left any doubt that the Young Money rapper is a ladies man, Drake made a point of calling out to a slew of attractive women in the front row, asking the crowd as a whole to cheer for all independent females in the house. It was a perfect lead in to his latest Nicki Minaj collaboration, “Make Me Proud,” which he performed solo. Though she was not in house, Minaj’s presence was felt yet again as Drake played the music to her “Moment for Life,” telling the audience how pleased he was to introduce his sophomore album Take Care to the masses.
Drake undoubtedly led the most high-energy performance of the night. On “Fancy,” the bass kicked in so loud that could be felt rumbling deep down to the core. The paint chipped rafters shook, raining debris down on the stage and the audience.
“Damn, you guys are going so fucking hard pieces of the ceiling are falling down!” he quipped.
Mingling with the crowd were a brigade of T-Mobile ladies, opting not to wear pink dresses like that of their television commercial counterpart, but donning oversized glasses and pink long-sleeved shirts, accessorized with a white vest and brightly colored pants. Those hand passing hors d’oeuvres through the crowd were dressed in white long sleeved t-shirts emblazoned with the logos for T-Mobile and Google Music.
In an effort to visualize the new partnership, in which the Google Music store is integrated with the Android Market, T-Mobile created a physical embodiment of their digital music store. A small room in the back of the building was equipped with a DJ, funky art and surrounded by vinyl records.
As part of T-Mobile’s partnership with Google, the mobile carrier will offer free exclusive content from Drake, Maroon 5 and Busta Rhymes, among others. For more on the launch of Google Music, and how it stacks up against Apple, Amazon and Spotify, click here.