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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

iPHONE APPS COULD BE THE NEW MYSPACE PAGE


Artists and labels have a new way to strengthen ties to fans and make them buy more music: mobile phone apps, which could be the new MySpace page.

An iPhone app might seem like an awkward way to distribute music when the device also supports podcasts and the iTunes music store, but the apps' versatility gives bands a great way to draw their fans closer.

Recording artist Pink is the first (updated) to make waves in this area with a free iPhone app called "P!nk's Funhouse" (iTunes link), according to Billboard, which includes 30-second previews from her upcoming album, news, photos and other "essentials to connect you to Pink's music." Others rumored to be working on similar applications include Fall Out Boy and Snow Patrol, while Nine Inch Nails plans to release a special version of the iPhone app Tap Tap Revenge that will let players tap along with various NIN songs.

IPhone apps are becoming a viable platform for the promotion and distribution of music. Not to blow our own horn, but we called this back in August.

Songs, images, news, videos and other content can be distributed for free directly to fans using iPhone apps that contain 'buy' links to the iTunes music store. If your favorite band has an app for iPhone (or Android) and you have one of those devices, you're going to download the app. At that point, the band has a friendly, band-branded Trojan horse on your phone to import whatever content it wants you to have, as well as an easy way to convert renewed interest into sales.

The bands mentioned above plan to use these apps to promote their music but the next step could be actual distribution, leveraging the iTunes store's ability to sell apps to offer band subscriptions. I would pay $40/year to have the latest recordings, photos, news and other material from The Fall sent to my iPhone in near real time, and I'd be willing to bet that others would be willing to do the same with their favorite bands.

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