This is perhaps one of the coolest and potentially disruptive apps in the Apple iTunes AppStore – at least in terms of the music industry. I’m speaking of the Presidents of the United States of America iPhone app (mentioned in the story) which is actually a compendium of four albums worth of the band’s songs, some demos and, apparently, a promise to update with other material.
It’s music now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we started seeing a few new TV show pilots being packaged in similar applications and tossed into the AppStore as another way to test a show and get audience reaction. Perhaps we’ll see the networks come up with things like “Fall ‘09 Comedy Pilots from XYZ network.” Build a ranking capability into the app – something a bit more detailed than thumbs up or down, mind you – and all of a sudden a network might have an interesting tool. (Network execs, don’t forget to share the love if you do this – and it works.)
As a promotional tool, the PUSA’s iPhone app is really ingenious. Yes, the user has to pay for it. But, really, $2.99? Honestly, that’s just a steal for four albums worth of songs. Are you paying to discover music you might be able to get for free by hunting around on P2P networks? Sure. But really, how has time to muck about on P2P or Torrents anymore? I mean, aside from people who don’t seem to think that paying for art is really that necessary anymore.
No, the songs aren’t “portable” in that a user can pull them out of the app. Yes, there is a “buy” button next to each song that takes the user straight to the iTunes store. No, there’s not a ton of interactivity e.g. being able to play a song over and over. To enable that would defeat the purpose of the app which is, in my mind, to discover the band by listening to its songs.
Expect more of this for those bands that either own their catalog/publishing rights or have forward-thinking label bosses.
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