I remember when Mobile Roadie first launched back in 2009 and we immediately struck an agreement with them to enable our clients to create a mobile app. The dedicated artist app seemed to be a powerful tool when it first launched, but after publishing a slew of them we were quite disappointed in the number of downloads they received. And they were free! It seems the fans weren’t intrigued by an app that provides the same info as what’s on the artist website.
Fast forward a few years and developments in technology make it fairly easy to create a mobile-optimized website. In an ideal world, an artist will have one site that looks slick and works across all devices, giving fans a plethora of info no matter where they are and eliminating the tediousness of updating the same info across multiple destinations.
MOBILITY TRUMPS MOBILE
With a mobile-optimized site live, the need for a separate mobile app is possibly justified if you have an idea that is uniquely entwined with the flexibility and capabilities of a phone. Miranda Lambert just launched a very cool app in conjunction with Mobile Roadie and Sonic Notify*. When you watch her new video on Vevo, the video sends out inaudible sounds that trigger actions on the app. While I was watching the video I received information about a contest and exclusive tracks. Cool!
I immediately envisioned Steve Aoki on stage using Sonic Notify to send out tracks from his Dim Mak catalogue. Or He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister playing to their Austin City Limits crowd and sending a track from their upcoming album. But here’s the thing, this app only works if it’s open. And maybe there’s no cell service, either because everyone at ACL is uploading a photo to Instagram or because you’re in a deep corner of a concrete club. Back to square one. I do believe there are opportunities for Sonic Notify and creative apps, but the conditions have to be just right and the artist not afraid to tell their fans to open up their app.
The moral of my story is: to maximize your fan acquisition and engagement in an efficient way, don’t design specifically for the mobile device – define your overall marketing strategy and develop it for mobility. It’s worked for Facebook, Pinterest and Spotify! As I read in a Harvard Business Review article, “mobility trumps mobile”.
*While I’d like to say I’m a Miranda Lambert fan, I read about this on Mashable.