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Make Concerts As Special As Can Be With Foursquare

Checking-in… Originally associated with hotels, flights, and eventually out-of-town conferences. No longer, friends – no longer. By now you’re surely already familiar with Foursquare, the app that prompts you to check in to restaurants, parks, movie theaters, yoga classes, and of course, concerts! In exchange for checking in, users get points and – if they’re extremely dedicated – respect-breeding badges and titles (Mayor, anyone?).

Foursquare also runs “Specials” for certain venues, where users who check in get access to deals and discounts on their coffee or 11th yoga class. Of course, this is to encourage people to check in with the app, and as a result give the venue information on its demographic – all valuable data for any business owner and marketer.

As of this week, these “Specials” are also available for concerts! Think exclusive tracks, free merch, complimentary drinks, and more. All highly valued items for an eager concert-goer. I know that regardless of how skeptical I am about (over-)sharing my whereabouts to the world (stalker, anyone?), if the band I’ve gone out of my way to see is offering me a signed poster or an exclusive download, I’ll do it.

This new feature is proving how awesome it is this week at SXSW with a handful of participating artists, including Gary Clark Jr., Neon Trees and WALK THE MOON. They’re offering everything from meet-and-greets (yes please!) to limited edition signed posters, and even a chance to get on stage after the show!

It doesn’t take a lot to make fans happy… And you can do it very easily by creating a Foursquare page for your artist and setting up Specials for your events via the Manager Tools. Do it for one show or a whole tour; be as generous as you feel; and have fun with it!

Why Swarm.fm Snagged the Grand Prize at Spotify’s Music Apps Hack Weekend

February 29, 2012 Industry Trends No Comments

This past weekend, I attended Spotify’s Music Apps Hack Weekend at SPiN, Susan Sarandon’s Manhattan ping pong club (yes, she loves ping pong THAT much). The Music Apps Hack Weekend is a 48-hour Hackathon where developers, coders, designers, and business minds can come together to develop products and ideas to build on Spotify’s new app platform. Just imagine The Social Network’s hacker party scene, but much cooler. Not only was Spotify in the house, but Facebook, Foursquare, The Echo Nest, GoGrid, Twilio and many others also came out to support all these awesome digital music hackers.

The winner of the Spotify Music Apps Hack Weekend’s $10,000 grand prize – that had already caught my eye at the event – was Swarm.fm. Swarm.fm is a music streaming service that has launched the +Music app extension for Google Chrome and Facebook. Now you’re probably asking yourself, “What’s the difference between Swarm.fm’s +Music and Spotify, Rdio, and all these other streaming services are out there?” Well, the simple answer is its convenience for facilitating music discovery all on one platform.

For Google Chrome, all you have to do is install the plugin, which will appear on your tool bar. With it, you are able to stream and discover music all at the same time. Say you are browsing your favorite music blog and you discover a new artist. With +Music, all you have to do is highlight the name of an artist, right-click and instantly play or queue a mix of songs from said artist right from your Google Chrome tool bar.

Its integration into Facebook is even better because it allows you to share full songs with friends, even if they don’t have +Music installed. It also allows you to install a mini music player at the top of your Facebook page. In the Share section, +Music gives you the option to search for music where you’d normally post a status update.

To get a better feel of Swarm.fm’s +Music, check out the video of their demo below:

Foursquare’s ‘Arrivals’ App Takes Tips from Airport Terminals

January 27, 2012 Industry Trends 1 Comment

Foursquare is constantly looking for ways to innovate their popular social media platform and may have struck another milestone. ‘Arrivals’ is a Foursquare app which allows users to see friends’ locations displayed on a separate screen. Its design, inspired by airport arrival boards, was created to be informative without being intrusive.

The screen updates with the locations of your friends, allowing for constant awareness of where they are all day. Developer Dan Williams created ‘Arrivals’ based on a concept by Toby Barnes, creator of ‘Where’s Dad,’ a small display for his son that shows his current location when he travels.

‘Arrivals’ keeps privacy first. There is no timestamp, name of the person or other private information; just the name of the venue and a profile picture. While a small addition to the Foursquare universe,  ‘Arrivals’ may strike a chord with veteran users looking for another way to check out their friends’ daily activities.

For more information on this development, go to the app website or check out “Arrivals for Foursquare” on Dan William’s blog.


Photo courtesy of Flickr user ‘iamdanw’.

Mobile + Music: A Dream Team?

September 14, 2011 Industry Trends No Comments

I have an iPhone. On it I have Spotify, Facebook, Tweet Deck, Sound Cloud, Four Square, YouTube and a dozen other related apps. This was the space that mobile operators were supposed to control. But they completely missed the opportunity.

I remember speaking at a MusicAlly event in 2008 in London with Ralph Simon and Jeremy Silver. It was called “Mobile Music in the Dock” and it took a hard look at the mobile operators and their approach to music. Up until this point, mobile music meant ringtones. It was all about the Crazy Frog. Everyone knew listening to full tracks was the next wave.

There was a sense of arrogance with the mobile operators. They owned the customers. They owned the networks. They controlled pricing. They were in charge.  They were the dominant players and we needed to work with them. If someone was willing to pay 2.99 for a ringtone surely they must be willing to pay a lot of money for the actual song. But in the end they got it all wrong and have been almost completely dis-intermediated.

There are operators like Orange who have partnered with Deezer in France with a great deal of success. But maybe there is still a place for the operators to be an integral part of the offering if they are willing to give it another attempt. They still have some major advantages.

  1. Trust:  They might not always be liked but consumers trust their phone providers. They know that their mobile phones are secure.
  2. Tracking:  The operator knows where you are and what you do all the time. Unlike the other services that require a “check in” the operator already has that info and more.
  3. Billing:  The phone can be the wallet. The credit card. The payment method. Don’t underestimate this capability.

The music industry has moved beyond merely monetizing copyrights and entered into a business of engagement with the audience. Not every person has iTunes, Spotify, Facebook or Twitter. But they all have a mobile phone. How will we use the mobile to engage with the fan? Will the mobile operators rise to the challenge? Are we positioning ourselves for the future?

Foursquare Enables Official Check-In’s @ Events

August 23, 2011 Industry Trends No Comments

Official Foursqaure Check-In's Are Here

For many of us, checking into Foursquare has become as commonplace as sending an email. Apparently the good folks over at Foursquare caught wind of this and have ramped up to make check-ins official. So what’s the difference? Well, instead of just checking into a place, you’ll be able to go to an event and check into a venue under an official naming convention. Foursquare has hooked up with ESPN for sports, Movietickets.com for movies, and Songkick for concerts to implement specific events into their database.

These partners will allow users to refine their check-in’s to individual movies at a theater, or particular artists at a concert venue. Instead of checking in at “New Meadowlands Stadium” then shouting “Jets game”, you’ll now be able to check in at “New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins at New Meadowlands Stadium”. While Foursquare is rolling out more than 50,000 events at the release date, they look to expand to hundreds of thousands in the coming year.

For more information on this development, check out the Foursquare blog.

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