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'Bondage Fairies' launch global USB treasure hunt

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'Bondage Fairies' launch global USB treasure hunt
Photo: Aram Bartholl
16:00 CET+01:00
An enterprising band launched a technological treasure hunt this week, challenging fans to find their new song, pieces of which are on computer memory sticks hidden in public places around the world.

The underground band, magnificently called Bondage Fairies, is the first to do this kind of thing on an international scale, manager Felix Heinrich told The Local.

Pieces of their new song are hidden on USB sticks in 17 cities, including Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Stockholm, London, New York, Barcelona, Mexico City and Paris.

When all the sticks are found and the codes on them are sent to the band's website, the song will be released, free to download, to all.

The band announced the beginning of the hunt on Monday, when clues and photographs of the different locations were released online. The first five were found including those in Berlin and Hamburg within the first 24 hours, said Heinrich.

Although the band comes from Sweden, it boasts a, “small but dedicated fan base from all over the world” he added. They have released one album called "What you didn't know when you hired me."

“But because the albums are only released in certain countries we thought it would be nice to do something which includes the countries the band has not yet visited.

“Logistically the whole thing was a nightmare to organize. But we loved the secret agent element to it, as well as connecting people all over the world with our music.”

The Dead Drop idea was developed by Berlin-based artist Aram Bartholl in 2010 – it involves embedding a USB data stick into a wall or even tree in a public place, enabling anyone who finds it to download the music or pictures left on it.

Bartholl wanted to create an anonymous, offline file sharing network. An online database includes lists of places where someone has cemented a USB stick into a wall.

And while downloading the data might mean standing with a laptop against a wall in the rain, the concept is catching on, with more than 750 “Drops” having been made so far worldwide.

Bondage Fairies, whose unusual name comes from a Japanese erotic comic of the same name, took Bartholl's idea and turned it into a global PR campaign, enlisting family, friends and fans to cement snippets of their new single into walls.

Heinrich added that the band felt Dead Dropping fitted with the Bondage Fairies' music, which is electronic-based. “If they were a folk band playing acoustic guitars, the hunt wouldn't make much sense.”

Several of the USBs have been hidden in Ukraine and Russia, where the band is experiencing growing popularity. They are the first ever Dead Drops to have been made in Kiev and Moscow.

“We're pioneering the idea over there to see what they make of it,” Heinrich said.

The Bondage Fairies will be touring through Germany this February.

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