Mp3 Experiment Seven – Full Details

This event has already happened – Photos will be posted on this page.

Here are the full details for The Mp3 Experiment Seven. Please take the time to read all of the instructions on this page. This event is taking place in New York City.

Please note: This is a participatory event. We encourage participants to leave their cameras at home and have fun participating. We request the same from members of the media. Let’s all enjoy the moment and resist the urge to document! Don’t worry, we will have our usual crew taking photos and video for all to see.

Date: Saturday, October 2
Location: Midtown Manhattan (detailed info below)
Time: The event will begin at exactly 6:00 PM. The event will be over by 7:00.
Wear: Whatever you would normally wear on a Saturday. (We are not doing colored shirts this year. The goal is to blend in with non-participants.)
Bring: A bag (purse, backpack, messenger bag, shopping bag, etc.) that has the following items inside:
– a roll of toilet paper
– two sheets of 8.5 x 11 paper with one huge letter on each of them, either typed or drawn. Chose one vowel and one consonant. Keep other side of each piece of paper blank.
– a marker.
– a wrapped gift of something you have in your home but no longer want that you think someone else might like.

Full instructions below:

1. Download the Mp3: [event already happened]

2. Load the track onto your mp3 player (iPod, iPhone, etc.)

3. Do not listen to the track.

4. On Saturday, wear normal clothes and bring a bag containing the above-mentioned items.

5. Bring a watch with a second hand (or use your cell phone if it displays seconds.) Before you leave, sync it up to this atomic clock:

New York

If you use an iPhone, your automatically set clock could still be several seconds off. So note the difference and adjust accordingly, or download this app that will show you the correct time.

7. As 6:00 approaches, position yourself inside any retail store within the blue-shaded area on the map below. Behave as though you are a normal customer shopping in the store and prepare to press play without drawing attention to yourself. Spread out so that you are not too close to friends or others wearing headphones. If the store seems excessively crowded, find another one.

View Mp3 Experiment Seven Starting Point in a larger map

8. At exactly 06:00:00 PM, press play.

Frequently Asked Questions

Say what now?

If you’ve never heard of The Mp3 Experiment, check out our coverage of the past six years.

How will we know when to start?

You will have synchronized your watch or cell phone clock to the atomic clock above. Press play at exactly 6:00 PM. If your phone does not allow you to adjust by seconds, you have two choices: 1) Bring a watch. 2) Figure out how off your phone is and adjust accordingly. For example, if your phone is 10 seconds behind the clock above, then you would press play at 5:59:50.

Can I use my iPhone?

Yes, but if you use an iPhone, be sure to put it in airplane mode so you don’t get interrupted by a call. Also, as noted above your automatically set clock could still be several seconds off. So note the difference and adjust accordingly, or download this app that will show you the correct time.

Should I listen to the track beforehand?


Can I listen to the track beforehand?

You really shouldn’t. Sure, there’s nothing we can do to stop you, but to really get the full experience of the event, you shouldn’t listen to it. It will spoil most of the fun. We know it’s hard to resist. Be strong.

What if I get to the event late?

Press play at the start time wherever you may be, and hurry up!

What if I don’t press play at exactly the right time?

If you can tell you are significantly off, feel free to glance at a neighbor’s device and try to sync back up to the correct time. You’ll have more fun if you’re more in sync.

Can I take photos or video?

Please refrain from taking photos during the experiment. We will have plenty of photographers covering the event, and you’ll have more fun if you’re not taking photos. We take care of the documentation; you take care of the fun!

I’m coming with some friends. Should we all start in the same place?

You can, but try to spread out in your store so it looks like you aren’t together. The experiment will work best if there are a few other participants in your area, but not so many that it’s super obvious you’re all together.

Do I have to RSVP?

Nope, but we did create a Facebook Event if you want to RSVP there. Bring as many friends as you like– this event is open to the public.

How old do you have to be?

The Mp3 Experiment is appropriate for people of all ages. If you are under 18, you should have your parent’s permission to participate. Young children should participate with their parents, obviously.

Can I bring my dog?

No. As this year’s experiment takes place in an urban environment and requires you to start in a retail store, we do not recommend you bring your dog.

I have another question that hasn’t been answered!

You can ask it by leaving a comment on this entry.


  1. well, being a college student who brought the bare minimum to her dorm, i really don’t have a gift, but i’m still gonna come if i can!

  2. if i could just only wish too.. that New York is one taxi away from the Philippines…
    Oh Flying taxi you should be invented now.. :D

  3. hi i was going to download the mp3 but i have a macbook and i have no right click when i click on it its just comes up on my screen. how can i downloaded?

    • In Safari on a mac you should right click and choose “Download Linked File” or “Download Linked File As…”

      If you don’t have a right click button, use control+click to bring up the menu choices.

        • Despite these instructions some of my friends from are saying they can’t get it to download.

          “i am not getting any options like that when i control+click
          back, reload, dashboard and print page are the options i am getting”

          • Are they control (or option) clicking on the link itself or on the page? Control click the link that says “download”.

            It’s just an mp3 file sitting in a directory– shouldn’t be hard to get!

    • option click also works
      I suggest having the sound off on your computer during download – just in case it starts playing.

    • you can also use if you have a new macbook pro two fingers on the pad and click and select download file. Should Work.

    • I have a Macbook too. If it’s one of the newer ones and you don’t want to control click, try clicking the pad with two fingers and selecting save file as… that’s how I did it.

    • Dude, just find whatever you can. You don’t have to bring a computer or a stereo, just bring a CD or DVD you don’t want anymore, or maybe an old stuffed animal you don’t want anymore.

    • I like that one of things you are mad about is that we’re not specifically wearing colored shirts but instead can wear whatever normal clothes we want (including colored shirts.)

    • So like I expected this was pretty meh. Call me a complainer, but I didn’t enjoy it that much. I felt it was a waste of a location (times square, arguably the center of the world, and the best we could come up with was tp mummies and freezing on the street? Come on)

      Also people are retards and can’t follow simple directions. Thanks for ruining it for everyone.

  4. Yikes! No matter what Link I click or the browser I choose – Mozilla & Google chrome – I do not have a ‘Save As’ button that comes up. I can save the link to the download page but not the page itself. Help!

  5. Toilet paper, vowels, and presents, oh my!!! And at different shops covering seven blocks?!?! This is going to be the BEST MP3 EXPERIMENT EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD!!!! And the second largest (wasn’t the Invisible Dog one covering like 30 square blocks?)


    For people having trouble with Macs, I have a lot of friends on standby with their PCs. I’m probably going to use their computers if my Mac doesn’t work.

    I’m crossing my fingers the website won’t crash. I can’t download it until I get home from work, which means I’ll be fighting with 1000 other people to get that file into my IPOD. It’s the MP3 Rush Hour! =D

  6. Also, with the map saying starting point, I wonder if we will be moving from store to store or through the street . . .

  7. I have a hard time separating toilet paper from an irresponsible mess in my mind; is it likely that this event will leave behind a mess which might wrack a guilty conscience?

  8. i just wanted to say i am super excited and would love to get more involved in helping with IE…

    especially anything to do with a more teenage level

    see you there!

    btw, im giving up going to a soldout rave in my town for free because i think this will be more awesome.

  9. My personal computer is busted and cant download on my work computer. Anyway to download directly to iphone?

    • I don’t recommend doing it that way, but you could probably download it on your phone and listen over 3G… but iPhone’s aren’t great with something as long as this track.

    • You could also borrow a friend or coworker’s computer just to get the mp3 onto your iphone, perhaps? I’d say you can use a public library’s computer, but not all of them have itunes and they almost never allow you to install new programs.

  10. Yes, I have a question, and I really hope you can answer mine. I’m in the city tomorrow with my backpack, and am planning to put all the items in there. Now I don’t want to listen to the MP3 before the experiment, obviously, but I want to know is if we are going to give away our bags, with all the items in it, because I wouldn’t feel comfortable losing sight of my bag. Is it wiser to just bring a plastic bag too? You can email me the answer if you like. Really looking forward to it! Thanks.

  11. Headphones are only hinted at once in step 7. Are we supposed to use headphones? Or, can we play it out loud via whatever speakers we happen to have?

    There’s no mention of this seemingly important detail???

  12. damn Charlie, am out of the country. i am always working when IE has an event. maybe next time i will put in a request for a specific day so i can be there.this sounds just awesome, whatever it is you are planning! have fun and i will live vicariously….

  13. Everyone make sure your MP3 player is fully charged. Major buzzkill to show up and find out you have less than an hour of juice.

  14. The forces of forced labor and monetary compensation to fulfill monetary obligations will keep me occupied. My regrets to my fellow agents and regards for an “experimental” event. Here’s to taking everyone else by surprise!

  15. This will be my first time participating in an IE event and I’m super excited. As a technical theatre major in New Jersey I’m extremely excited to see how the subjects of the actual experiments actually handle this experience. Well I’m super excited as I stated before, and Charlie I really hope that we have a chance to work together in the future. I’m a huge fan. Thanks again for everything, even though i have not yet attended, I feel like you have given me all the inspiration I need to become the best Technical Director I can be and for that I’m very grateful. Keep up the good work guys.

  16. i can’t wait, i can’t wait, i can’t wait….oh did i mention i can’t wait ^___^

    • There are tons of stores in that area. I’m doing the Asics store across from Bryant Park on 42nd!

  17. Can you recommend any stores to start out in? I know we’re not supposed to be clustered together but I’d like to know I won’t be alone in one store.

    • I wouldn’t stress about it too much. I would guess the larger national chain stores will have more participants but who knows. If you don’t see anyone with headphones in the store you pick, maybe try the one next door.

      It will work best if there are some other people, but it will be annoying if there are too many other people.

  18. me and my 4 friends are starting at sephora on 200w. 42nd st. how many is too many people?

    • 4 seems good, just spread out. We don’t want a big mob of people that lets the store knows something fishy is up before it starts. Also, it’s not the point to piss off the store in any way. It’s unauthorized, but not meant to be particularly disruptive.

  19. Also, I appreciate all the questions and am happy to keep answering them, but honestly if you just read the instructions above and follow them, you can’t go wrong. It’s an experiment! You’ll have fun even if you’re not entirely sure what is going to happen.

  20. This is going to be my first experiment. I’m bringing 3 friends and we are all stuck on what gifts to get, we will figure it out. Thank you for the invite and we 3 will be representing Massachusetts for the day.

  21. The backs of my letter sheets have a bit of bleed-through from writing the letters…should I redo them? (i.e. does the back side have to be completely blank?)

    I’m very excited for my first mission!

  22. If we take the subway to the location, won’t police think some of the wrapped gifts are suspicious? because I have a pretty big container for mine.

  23. Charlie, Charlie, can we wear flip flops? All my socks are dirty! Will the experiment be ruined for me if I wear dirty socks? Will other agents wear dirty socks? And can we wear flip flops? Do I have to keep a straight face? What if I get nervous? What is an .mp3?

  24. HI,
    i was wondering if u are going to come to Aus.
    We in melbourne love to see this kinda thing and alot of people would love to join in.


  25. Do you expect problems bringing larger bags (like backpacks) into retail stores? I’m picturing various security guards and managers getting nervous about dozens of potential shoplifters roaming around their stores…

  26. OMG TODAY IS THE BIG DAY! I am so excited I can almost tinkle my pants :3!
    -Two pieces of paper with letters on em… CHECK!
    -Random item from my room, wrapped in a box… CHECK!
    -Normal Saturday clothes AKA Naked… CHECK!..JUST KIDDING ^_^ I’m not really naked :3
    -Synchronized watch with seconds displayed… CHECK!
    -Black marker… CHECK!
    -Roll of toilet paper… CHECK!
    -MP3 downloaded onto iTouch… CHECK!
    -AWESOME HOUR OF FUN!!! … Still pending.. must wait till 6pm.


  27. I collect Letter Ys can bring some *physical* letter Ys or does it *have* to be on a piece of paper?

    also can I count a Y as a consonant and a second Y as a vowel?

    I woudl love to share my collection, but I wouldn’t want to compromise the experiment.

  28. Question… Right now I’m in Dominican Republic, can I do it too and have a friend recording me here in any store? jajajaaja!!!
    It would be hell fun… we dont do this kind of stuff here…

  29. Is this really an experiment?

    Or more of an experience?

    Don’t experiments test certain things to validate or invalidate a hypothesis?

    More specifically and to the point, I hypthesize that I will have to park somewhere and I’m just wondering if parking be validated?

  30. SO EXCITED! me and my friend are doing it together. one question… is it and issue that we’re 13? i hope not. BTW, for the gift, can we have more than one thing? i have, like, some bangles and a flip book and a really small sad notebook. she has stickers and some other weird stuff. im confused about the present…

    • People under 18 should have their parents permission to participate, per the instructions above. I don’t know what bangles are, but I bet they will make an appropriate gift. The notebook would work too, as long as it’s not *too* sad.

  31. Hi-
    I have a Swissmar Cheese Knife that no one in my family will ever use. I was wondering if I could regift it in this event… it’s pretty sharp but is still in wrapping and box.

  32. i can’t synchronize my watch cuz i don’t have one…and my stupid ipod can’t synchronize anything…HOW AM I GOING TO BE ABLE TO D OOTHIS?!?!

  33. Umm, my iPod for some reason won’t download the song.
    When it synches, it doesn’t show on the ipod. What should I do?

    • have you imported the mp3 into itunes? If not go into file>add file to library> and then select the file. Then make sure its in your library and checked and sync again. Or else go into the ipod tab in itunes when your ipods plugged in and select “manually manage music” and just drag the mp3 into your ipod.

  34. OKay. for some dumb reason the atomic clock on this site isn’t loading so I don’t want to be significantly unsynced. the clock is like universal right?

  35. The roll of toilet paper: can it be a partial roll, or should it be a new, full-size roll? Will it matter?

  36. Little tip, if you synch your computer’s clock to the atomic one and than plug in your iPod, it synchs with the computer so it’ll be on time so you can just set it as an alarm with that as the tone. That’s what I’m doing.

  37. I really wish I could have come. I’m downloading the track any way.

    From the item list, I bet it will be hilarious. Have fun, everyone.

  38. I sooooo wish I had more notice for this… I would have driven to Manhattan from Michigan just for this :-\ guess I need to be ready for next year. Have fun everyone!

  39. As a teenager with boring parents, I am not aloud to come. But I am going to try to get the Improv club at my school to attend next year. Have fun tommorow everyone!

  40. Remember to play ‘mp3 experiment seven’ and not ‘mp3 experiment six’! Unless you want to dance on your own.

  41. Tik tak you guys, here overseas it’s about bedtime, but for you NY’ers the big moment is now fast approaching! Wished I could join you!!! Well, I’ll just have to wait for the pics, vids and stories so I can be genuinely jealous again (and again consider to move to another continent so I would be able to join in IE’s awesome events).
    Love you!!!

  42. Have fun. I’m in Utah so I won’t participate, but it’s just about to start. Fun experiment to all you agents. Good conference to all you LDS members out there as a side note.

  43. You guys need to come to Philadelphia! It’s just down the road from NYC and theres tons of awesome stuff you guys could do!

  44. How’d it go? How’d it go? I’m waiting here in Germany to hear about Mp3 Experiment Seven – wish I could have participated!

  45. I don’t really get what happens. So everyone all just listens to their mp3 players in the same place. Is that it? Do people dance or anything? Because otherwise how will anyone else know?

  46. Oh my, this was such a fun event!!!

    Me and my friends went inside Loft (a higher end clothing store), and the store associates kept giving everyone such dirty looks! :P

    My favorite part was the minute or two when everyone froze in the street, is the Improv Everywhere group going to do any more freezing events like that?

    Can’t wait for the photos and footage! :D

  47. Just wanted to say that the event was awesome, we had a wonderful time! I hope that there will be a blog or site set up so we can post up all our gifts, maps, and potraits! I also hope someone is enjoying the CD’s they received!

    Thank you so much!


  48. i just got back home in queens… i was there and it was sooooo much fun!!!!!!!! i cant wait to see pics and vids. on it!!!!

  49. Another mission success! These MP3 events are becoming HUGE! There was easily over 3,000 people involved – and it’s so much fun the way we all gather together and make people laugh.
    So, now that there have been seven experiments, all of them a success, I think it’s safe to say it is no longer an experiment, it is a bonifide phenomenon!

    • It’s generally on a Saturday because we need to have Sunday as a rain date. We scheduled No Pants on a Sunday this past year with religious Jews in mind (you’re not the first to mention it!)

      • Technically, a Jew might not operate electric appliances on Shabbat, and that includes MP3 players (and TVs, and computers…).

    • Yeah I also want to participate… It’s thoughtful that they made the No Pants on a Sunday, though I wonder how many religious Jews are going to take their pants/skirts off on the train

  50. your group just another cia, government control, collectivist, socialist, communist group organizing morons to follow orders making themselves look like the assholes you are satan, lucifer, masons, of the illuminati to wipe out all privately owned private sector businesses in nyc tri-state and most of the world so you can take in all the profits. your time is short satan so are all your organized groups you pay for with your lies, thievery, death cult destruction of g-d’s planet earth when you obliterate with your new world order this world 2011, true free people of g-d are onto your antics.

  51. What a great evening, IE. We had the Ann Taylor store in a tizzy. Nothing like slow dancing with a cashmere sweater, lol. The perfect end to the perfect day! Look forward to many more!

  52. One… Great Day! One of my best days EVER!

    Two… So I was telling my mom about the day and I mentioned the protocol for the gift. She was like oh a white elephant I get it. and I was like WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT? She said a white elephant is something you have but don’t really use or need. So see the link that was my gift… My mom blew my mind.

    Third.. to the lovely girl that GAVE me the white elephants…. I need to know, was it a conscious decision?

    Four… Either way well played and I had a BLAST

    LASTLY… The march to the steps in time square was epic! STEVE STEVE STEVE STEVE STEVE STEVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  53. Sorry I missed it. First one I couldn’t make since #3. Can someone share a link to where I can still download the mp3? I’d love to hear it so I can pretend to do all those wacky things. Thanks!