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Friday, April 16, 2021

New From Lego: AR Llamas That Dance to Katy Perry

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The AR videos that play out on the screen are sharable outside of the app.

Photograph: Lego/UMG

However, when it comes to enjoyable parent-child activities, making music videos ranks higher for me than, say, baking mini cupcakes or scraping Oobleck off my kitchen floor. As someone who is old enough to remember watching the MTV Top 20 Video Countdown at friends’ houses, it was fun to watch my children go crazy dancing (with llamas) to the Weeknd and Taylor Swift.

The sound stages also come with handles, so you can carry your characters around the house—or outdoors once you’re allowed to walk around the world at large again. On a Zoom presentation, Joshua Burke, UMG’s head of global partnerships, noted that the music megalabel will be adding songs regularly to the platform, and will soon offer a much broader range of musical choices than Top 40 songs from established artists.

Play the Hits

On that same Zoom call, Lego Creative Lab design director Morgan Walker pointed out that any videos shared to the Vidiyo platform will be moderated by Lego employees, so parents can worry less about their child inadvertently sharing sensitive information online. Parental consent is required before a child posts their first video, and everything from hate speech to identifiable personal information, including location information, will be removed.

The Lego Vidiyo app doesn’t require a subscription, and aside from the cost of the compatible Lego sets, there are no hidden extra costs. All of the musical mini-movies you shoot with the app can be saved right into the photo roll on your phone for easier sharing. Despite my few initial misgivings, it was a hit in my house. The music was catchy, the minifigs hilarious, and the videos fun for my children to film. It’s not hard to imagine Lego choreography on TikTok set to the Notorious B.I.G., or whatever song will be trending there in three years.

The beauty of Lego products is that even if every set the company releases is branded to a specific franchise, the bricks themselves are endlessly mutable. They quickly break free from the usual constraints of content and context. A week after Lego sent us the Vidiyo sets, Party Llama and ETDM quickly joined Emmett from The Lego Movie and Chewbacca from Star Wars for rides in my son’s airplane truck.

If all that happens from Lego Vidiyo is that my kids get a few interesting new minifigs and get a chance to improve their taste in music, that will be plenty.

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