Friday, August 31, 2007

Mobile Device Industry Enroute to Making Waves on the Web?

Nokia yesterday introduced Ovi, their new internet services brand name. ‘Ovi’, meaning ‘door’ in Finnish, signals a huge step for Nokia from the mobile device market into the internet. Ovi will serve as a gateway for customers to access many of Nokia’s services and will also become a social network for Nokia’s customers and users. From Ovi, customers will be able to download music, games and GPS maps. A key thrust is also the aim to create Nokia web communities, which will enable interactivity with other users and also easy access to individual’s content and contacts.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

What We Stand to Game

I've been having a go with one of the marketing tools for T-Pain - a flash video game where one directs T across a bar floor to catch dranks that are falling from the sky (T-Pain's Cocktail Crazy.) Apparently I am one of the biggest barroom butterfingers alive, however. Still, it is quite addicting and I'm itching to give it another shot. My running infatuation with social networking widgets got me thinking whether a game like this could be turned into an embeddable widget. Surely, fans of T-Pain would like to house such a game on their site to see if visiting friends and strangers could best their score. Moreover, what if the stakes were raised so that someone scoring over a certain threshhold then earned the privilege to download the single "Buy You a Drank" for free? This might spur viral sharing and awareness. And maybe for those not reaching the ultimate threshhold, various incremental scores would garner a corresponding reduction off of the standard $.99 price for purchase.

It's even possible that - in this instance - the falling drinks all clearly display the Bacardi brand or something like that so that they not only foot a contribution to be the exclusive promoter of the game, but also cover the free and discounted downloadable tracks for players attaining the requisite scores. Just some food - or should I say drank - for thought.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Levis - Both Ways

Have you seen that Levi’s TV spot where the guy pulls up his pants, along with another world and a hot girl? It's great. But you'd have to watch the gay and lesbian Logo cable channel to see a different version airing there, where our same pant-pulling He-man brings up a guy through the floorboards instead of a woman.

Now that's SEGMENTED advertising.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Gettin' Wiki Wit' It today announced the launch of, an interactive community site that encourages fans to personalize artist pages. Ultimate fandom or fiefdom? Check it out.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Race to Free in France

This past week the French have hit on a trifecta of free music deals further bringing into focus the sign of times to come. Jockeying for the favor of broadband consumers, both French telco companies Neuf Cegetel and France Telecom have announced plans to provide free unlimited music downloads to subscribers for their respective "triple-play" internet, telephone and tv bundles. Neuf Cegetel's deal is with Universal Music and makes the service available immediately. France Telecom's response won't launch until 2008, but promises a wider selection than the nine pre-specified musical genres comprising Neuf Cegetel's free offer. For Neuf Cegetel customers to download music from genres not a part of the pre-specified nine there is an additional monthly subscription cost of EUR 4.99 ($6.99).

Almost simultaneous to the news above, the old has resurfaced as announcing its free and legal on demand streaming service as a result of a deal with French collection society, SACEM. The agreement compensates record companies and other claimants with monies from advertising revenues earned by the site. is available in 16 different languages

Is it now official that music has become a value-adding throw-in/enticement for other revenue generating services?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mix(tape)ing It Up

Two interesting stories this week bringing the mixtape debate back to the forefront. One has Universal Music experimenting with a legal mixtape series called "Lethal Squad Mixtapes" to the bemusement of retailers who stopped carrying the product after the RIAA's crackdown on DJ Drama and wider-spread mixtape outfits. The other details a brand new initiative between Hot 97's DJ Envy and mobile content distributor, Cellfish Media to distribute seven-track mixtape compilations as ringtones and full downloads to paying consumers.

Both touch upon the viral power of mixtapes in generating critical buzz and artist credibility. Maybe more telling is the stated importance of the DJ actually doing the mixing. Universal's foray is being criticized for using an unknown DJ. Envy offers a supporting claim that "if I have a hot mixtape, it'll sell out. A new album will be hot only for a few weeks, then die down. That's what the kids want."

With the above in mind, as labels move away from the "record company" moniker to operating as talent developers/brokers, etc., should once 'antagonistic' street DJs be brought into the fold? And must mixtapes only be a tool for Hip Hop if their value can be capitalized upon?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Intimate-Tones (Intimatones?)

Last summer about this time, I, like many others I'm sure, received a call from Samuel L. Jackson. He knew my name, the fact I sported a bald head, and he even made mention of the scooter I rode. I was touched. Not touched enough to actually go and see the movie "Snakes on a Plane", which he was exhorting me to see, but touched to the point that I logged on to at first opportunity to personalize phone calls from Samuel to a number of my friends. Everyone got a real kick out of it.

Thinking of the music industry currently and the assortment of digital/mobile product elements available, ringtones and mastertones and ringback tones have certainly proven profitable, but they still exist primarily within the paradigm of items one would purchase for oneself. Aren't we all still trying to figure out how to capitalize on the inertia for sharing that great music compels us toward? That said, I would relish the opportunity to pay $2.99 or $3.99 for a customizable digital transmission, which I could send to a friend's phone so that when my call was answered or voicemail retrieved, the recipient would hear (in Justin Timberlake's voice) "Hey Lauren, this is JT, and I wanted to personally thank you for bringing sexy back" (then followed by the song of course). Or something like that. Thoughts?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Just the ticket for the CD's Golden Years?

The 2005 remake of Roald Dahl's 1971 cult-classic 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory' had grossed over $268 Million in International Box Office at last count. Thus, people everywhere are well aware of golden-ticket-mania. Seen in the real world, millions of people play national lotteries every week with the grandest of hopes. And when the numbers are pulled, these same millions are left with nothing but a worthless piece of paper. Yet millions more will buy-in again the next week.

Applied to the music industry, what if for a coordinated worldwide release of a major artist with a rabid following, 5 CDs around the globe contained a golden ticket awarding the opportunity to accompany said artist on their upcoming tour? Could this be a lottery-esque tipping point for fans who straddle the fence on whether and how to by new music? Would the reward be grand enough to influence 'Johnnie' to buy more than one copy? Would 'Johnnie's' aunt also make a purchase in hopes of being golden in her nephew's eyes? Regardless, even for a fan who didn't win, being left with an album in the end would have to be much more valuable than a worthless piece of paper; a rationale which in itself may be a purchase influencer.

Too gimmicky? Maybe. But any opportunity to toss around an idea that rekindles visions of Oompa Loompas is worthwhile in my book.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Widget or Won't It?

Hi all! My name is Maikel and I am thrilled to be rotating through Sony BMG's Global Marketing department for the next four months or more as part of the company's Management Trainee program. Well, widg'ya believe the prominence that the mini-app phenomenon has assumed in the Web 2.0 world? While the functionality of many of the touted embeddable applications may as yet be more smoke than substance, their growth and popularity is undeniable.

Earlier this week Apple launched three "My iTunes" widgets, which enable users to share their iTunes purchases, reviews and recommendations in blogs, personal websites, or social networking pages. It appears everyone wants the tools to customize their web presence to share what makes them who they are. Question is - are our artists sharing enough with the fans who visit their sites using similar tools? Not sharing in the sense of giving more away, but is there value in incorporating widgets that promote the music our artists are listening to? the concerts they'd be interested in attending? It depends widge way you look at it, I guess.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

What happens when the shoe's on the other foot?

Futbol or Football?

Who’s better...?
Beckham or Bush?
David or Dubya?

Friday, August 3, 2007

Is Copy Dead or Just Evolving?
Call Me Old-Fashioned, but I Like Words...Small Agency DiaryI recently came across a circa 1950's print advertisement for Budweiser hanging on a wall in a Jersey Shore (Avalon) bar. A colored drawing of two hardy guys enjoying their Buds in a far off cave. Within the design was an encyclopedic-like paragraph that ran the entire length of the ad where there was a mention of Bud using "water that came from stalagmites for purity," etc., etc. A number of multi-syllabic words were threaded throughout the highbrow prose that was an obvious focal point of the ad. Something about this ...

Thursday, August 2, 2007

1-18-08 - viral movie campaign

A very impressive and powerful viral campaign started in US theatres in july 2007:

Prior to the movie "Transformers" a trailer (see below) was presented, which had no information on the movie itself and only gave the information "J.J.Abrams" towards the end. The trailer itself was composed of shaky pictures filmed with a handheld camera and did look anything but like a trailer the audience is used to. This left some people quite irritated and statements such as "WHAT THE F*** WAS THAT!?" were quite common. As a lot of viewers were familiar with the name "J.J.Abrams" (creator of mystery show LOST) people started seeking information on the web with the goal to put the pieces of the puzzle together. The result: Lots of talk in the internet and on the media about the trailer and the upcoming movie Cloverfield which is supposed to hit theatres on 1-18-08.

This campaign shows how the buzzword "viral marketing" can be filled with actual meaning.

More details can be found on wikkipedia/cloverfield.

André Bohnet-Armstrong