It looks like Snapchat is becoming the MTV of augmented reality.
Available in the Snapchat app for iOS or Android via the Lens carousel (or through this Snapcode), Grande fans are treated to a front-facing camera AR effect of the artist's trademark animal ears and a face mask, as well as a snippet of her song "Breathin." Users can also open their mouths to remove and replace the face mask.
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After clicking the "Shop Now" button, users can buy a real version of the face mask they wore virtually in the AR experience directly through Snapchat. According to a Snap spokesperson, the $20 purchase comes with a link to download the new album for US customers. Customers will also be eligible for access to pre-sale tickets for Grande's 2019 tour. In addition, if users capture the experience and share it as a Story, other users who view the Story can also access the shopping experience.
To paraphrase the old Ian Flemming line, once is an anomaly, twice is a coincidence, but three times is the start of a trend. Just as the arrival of MTV (when it was actually Music Television) in the early 1980s made the music video an indispensable way to promote new music, Snapchat is now doing the same with its Shoppable AR feature.
How long will the hits from the music industry keep coming for Snapchat's Shoppable AR? We'll keep our eyes on the carousel next Friday (the music industry's accepted new release day) to find out.