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August 15, 2007


I Love You Baby, But Not Like I Love My Verizon Wireless™ Cellphone

Prince is a slave to marketing

Did you know people love cell phones? And that they bring artists and fans together? Prince invited fans to text him about how awesome his show was! Fergie set up a green screen so fans can record their own music videos on their cell phones!

You would if you read this NYT article that takes it for granted that the growing use of rock show cellphone tie-ins is simply an opportunity for artists to interact more with their fans and perhaps gather some market research data.

Come on, New York Times. The music industry and concert promoters aren’t interested in building the fan experience. In fact, they’re not even interested in the small revenue from texting your favorite band, which is generally less than $100,000 per tour. They want the serious cash. And that's sponsorships.

The fact is, sponsorship deals are much more alarming than the idea that marketers are gathering your cell phone data – see the abovementioned Prince’s lucrative "partnership" with Verizon or Fergie’s Verizon concert tour. Maybe getting to text Prince’s promotional team about how sexy he is makes for a more intimate concert going experience – but it still means that you spent a bucket of money on that ticket (plus .99 per text) to watch what's essentially a paid commercial.

What do the artists have to say? “The cellphone is here,” says activist Perry Farrell. “You can choose to ignore it, you can grump at it, or you can say, ‘How can I take this amazing invention, how can I apply this and make my festival, and my life, more exciting?’”

I’ll tell you, Perry - you can accept AT&T’s corporate sponsorship for your Lollapalooza tour! And then, you can make your life and festival even more exciting when AT&T censors Pearl Jam’s anti-Bush lyrics from the festival webcast.

posted by Emily at 2:49 PM | #

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