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Behind Polaroid Music

We’ve poured our hearts and souls into instant photography for over 80 years, giving anyone across the world the tools for self-expression and discovery. On September 21, 2022, we built on that vibe… by making something completely different. Here’s how Polaroid Music came to be.

In a way, it’s been in the mix for a while... We’ve had a dormant connection to music—a rumbling of what could be—for a long time.

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“Polaroid has always been at its best at the intersection of art and science, making products that inspire and empower the creativity in all of us. We talked a lot about where we could go next, and music was the area that kept popping up through our history. First with a sketch from the ‘70s and then with my first experiment at The Impossible Project in 2012, trying to put music on a Polaroid photo. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work. But that desire to explore this world remained.”
— Oskar Smolokowski, our Chairman.

So, with the timing and progression feeling natural, we decided to enter the music space—but knew we had to do it the Polaroid way. The outcome: our own kind of radio and our own kind of music players.

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On the players

Spearheaded by our design team in London, we created four analog music players that follow the same design philosophy that’s at the heart of everything we create: playful, colorful, tactile, and human.

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“Our music players are fun, vibrant, and in shapes you can’t help but touch. Simple joys like flicking the analog dial to change stations or turn up the music is a small way to help us get back to our human experience and away from our phones. They even have a small display that moves with the music. We want them to feel alive.”
— Ignacio Germade, our Chief Design Officer.

The Polaroid P1 is small and portable, the Polaroid P2 is compact enough to wear, the Polaroid P3 takes you back with its ‘80s boombox vibe, and the Polaroid P4 packs some serious sound. And while each has their own distinct vibe, the sound quality across the board is in that sweet spot of warm, balanced, and hazy.

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On Polaroid Radio

Of course, the music players were only ever half the journey. From the get-go we wanted to do something about the eerily algorithmic way we were all being fed music. Out of our love for “keeping-things-human”, Polaroid Radio was born.

“At its core, Polaroid has always been about honoring and celebrating great artists and we didn’t want Polaroid Music to be any different, so we built Polaroid Radio. There were so many ways algorithms were recommending music today so we asked a few great artists, DJs, and curators to create five unique sonic worlds filled with what they thought was the best up-and-coming music and a few established hits from the past and today, and that is Polaroid Radio. Just like old-school analog FM you listen with thousands others at the same time, new music is added all the time, and you cannot skip tracks so it is this really cool shared, human experience.”
— Stine Bauer Dahlberg, our SVP of Product

We called on individualistic artist-curators like Rachel Grace Almeida, Hannah Faith, ABOE, and Eric Morris aka Laura Lisbon to put together 5 experimental, explorative, free-&-ad-free radio stations that people could tune into to unearth new music, and listen to together.

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And through a super-easy-to-use Polaroid Music App, Polaroid Radio and our music players link up. Here’s where you can listen to Polaroid Radio, and here’s where you can learn more about its future-iconic curators.

When we hear music we love, we come alive. That’s our aim in creating Polaroid Music—to carry that energy over to how a speaker looks, and to how a radio station is made and curated. The music we love should be played on something we love.

It’s been a wild journey. Exciting. Challenging. Daunting. And while it’s all new for us, there’s one thing that’ll never shift: we’ll never forget or lose the love for what got us to the dance.

Photography.

“We are working hard on something new in the instant world too. An instant camera that can rival the titans of the ‘70s and ‘80s in terms of picture quality. A new camera for i-Type film that I've been dreaming of since 2016. OK can't tell you more but it's coming next year!”
— Oskar Smolokowski, our Chairman.

Yeah. We like the sound of that.

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