Apple Stores Become Audition Stage for Entertainers

April 25, 2011

It started off five years ago with short, fun videos created by Internet semi-celebrities who visited Apple’s retail stores. But now the stores have become a stage for aspiring and upcoming entertainers to audition their talents, culminating with a flash mob dance by the cast of a Disney-produced television show at The Grove (S. Calif.) store last weekend. Apple’s goal of making the stores a community gathering spot, and its hands-off policy on computer use has encouraged a long line of lip-synchers, dancers and talkers to create one-take, iMovie productions. Internet celeb Justine may have started the craze in 2006, a year after YouTube’s start-up. Wearing pink and looking blonde, she visited Apple stores as part of her roadtrips that created a huge on-line following. Since then, singers and dancers have frequented the stores, many of them teens and some posting their videos as part of a larger publicity campaign. The most recent video features the cast of Disney’s TV show “Leomande Mouth,” the story of a group of high-schoolers who take up music as a way of handling their teen struggles. The multi-camera shoot is made to appear amateurish and off-hand. But obviously it’s all part of well-designed Disney publicity campaign for the talent and TV show.

The in-store video craze generally started with Justine in 2006, including this 2008 visit to an Apple store.

Singers are common at the Apple stores, lip-synching to popular songs.

Dancers carve out a little space within the stores and then let loose.

Not every video features singing or dancing—sometimes they just show people.

A teen singer going by “tr3vor” has been using the Apple stores to publicize his singing talents. His out-of-store videos are suspiciously well-produced, leading to suspicions that he’s being supported by a music label.

The latest escalation of in-store videos is a flash-mob dance by the cast of the Disney TV show “Leomande Mouth” at The Grove store. The number of dancers increases as the song progresses, unimpeded by the store staff, until the group starts to intrude on other visitors within the store. As the song winds down, a trio of Apple store staffers gently guides the dancers out the front door.

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