Here are the full details for The Mp3 Experiment taking place on Saturday, October 1 in Grand Rapids in collaboration with ArtPrize. Please take the time to read all of the instructions on this page.

Date: October 1 (rain or shine)
Location: Two locations, see below
Time: The event will begin at exactly 5:45:00 PM. Arrive early!
Wear: A Red, Blue, Yellow, or Green shirt
Bring: An uninflated balloon.

Full instructions below:

1. Download the Mp3: Download Link (Right click and save the link. If you just click on the link it will start playing in your browser. Spoilers!)

Note: The filename for the track is “mp3_experiment_gr.mp3” and the album, artist, and track name will be “Mp3 Experiment.”

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

3. Do not listen to the track.

4. Wear a shirt that is one of the following colors: Red, Blue, Yellow, or Green.

5. Bring an uninflated balloon. (Any kind of balloon that can be blown up.)

6. 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:

Grand Rapids

(If your browser doesn’t show the clock above, you can use this link to get the correct time; note that the hour is off, but the minute and seconds are correct.)

If you have an iPhone, consider downloading this app that will give you the exact atomic time in the field. Don’t count on your phone’s clock being the same time as the clock above– make sure to sync!

7. As 5:45 approaches, head to one of the two starting zones below and blend in with the area naturally as if nothing is up.

If your birthday is between January and June, start at the West end of the Blue Bridge, between the Grand Rapids Pubic Museum and GVSU’s Eberhard Center. Start anywhere in the shaded area:

View ArtPrize 1 in a larger map

If your birthday is between July and December, start at Calder Plaza. Start anywhere in the shaded area:

View ArtPrize 2 in a larger map

8. At exactly 5:45:00, press play.

Frequently Asked Questions

Say what now?

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

How will we know when to start?

You will have synchronized your watch or cell phone clock to the atomic clock above. 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.

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! Obviously be safe and don’t rush when crossing streets, etc.

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.

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. Use common sense if you are participating with a young child.

Is there a Facebook event for this?

Yes, RSVP here on Facebook.