Thursday, February 19, 2009

Music distribution via mobile apps is on the way

A story on Wired's Epicenter blog, ostensibly about an iPhone app offering all four albums by 90's guitar-string dodgers The Presidents of the United States of America, offers a glimpse into the potential for mobile apps to forge a new music market. Apple has led the way but RIM and Android will be along shortly, if they know what's good for them.

Points of note:
- Dave Dederer, former singer and guitarist for the band, is now vice president of business development for mobile audio company Melodeo.
- Crucially, he and his bandmates retained the full rights to all their music. Since the iPhone store is open(ish) he can do what he likes with his own content and avoids the licensing entanglements that usually make such efforts hugely problematic.
- For $3, fans old and hopefully new get access to (via streaming) four albums, rare and live recordings, and anything else the band wants to make available. Plus updates.
- Next step is more bands with their own versions. A label-centric app for Seattle-based Sub Pop is hinted at.

From the article:
Dederer also said Melodeo is looking at the idea of using the iPhone app store to promote albums before their official release, circumventing the old way of "paying tens or or hundreds of thousands of dollars in... to get the album in heavy rotation on the radio." He continued, "instead of paying for exposure, you let the fans pay for the right to preview the music -- they can't own it, it's going to be streaming -- and have them link through to iTunes to pre-purchase the album."

Image found on via Google.

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