On Thursday, at the stroke of midnight, pop impresario Pharrell Williams debuted the video for his new single, "Happy." It's 24 hours long.
The video, available for streaming on 24hoursofhappy.com, features various dancers lip-synching to Williams' single throughout the course of a day in Los Angeles. The four-minute, upbeat song is played on loop, with each cycle introducing a new dancer (or dancers) at a different location. Viewers can fast-forward or move backward using a clock interface that hovers over the display, and share specific moments on Twitter or Facebook. The dancers, meanwhile, include both anonymous extras and celebrities like Magic Johnson, Steve Carell, and of course, Williams himself.
The video was directed by We Are From LA and produced by Iconoclast. Williams published non-interactive segments of the video to his YouTube channel, though it's best experienced on the micro-site.
"Happy," which is featured on the upcoming soundtrack for the film Despicable 2, is just the latest in a series of recent interactive videos from high-profile artists. Earlier this week, Bob Dylan released a stunning video for his single "Like a Rolling Stone" — replete with lip-synching and channel-switching — and in September, Arcade Fire released a video that users can control with their smartphones.
For Williams, the video caps off what has been a remarkably successful year. He's produced songs for major albums from Jay Z and Miley Cyrus, and was directly involved with two of the year's biggest singles: Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," which he produced and co-wrote, and Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," which he co-wrote. But his interests extend well beyond the realm of music, as Fast Company's Mary Kaye Schilling writes in an illuminating profile published this week.
"He aspires to something like Andy Warhol's Factory," Schilling writes, "a hive of creativity that is also profitable, with a heavy dose of altruism."