tiny cities made of ashes: coca-cola, itunes, and europa

Two rather small American companies are looking to create some brand recognition across the Atlantic in a little place called Europe: a computer company headquartered in California, named Apple, has partnered with a beverage company calling themselves Coca-Cola for the largest music promotion campaign in the continent’s history.

Billboard.biz reports the promotion is for 2 billion songs in 17 European countries, but the math for actually giving away 2 billion songs just doesn’t work… I interpret Coke’s press release to mean that Coke is actually giving away songs through the iTunes Music Store through 2 billion promotional packs of Coke products from May until the end of August.

To participate in the promotion , consumers will redeem codes from Coke products through the iTunes Music Store.

This isn’t anything all that new as Johnny Rockets ran a similar campaign with eMusic not too long ago, though in the United States, only in 8 markets, and allowing for winners to download 3 free songs online.

Coke also wants to position itself as a supporter of up-and-coming artists & cultural creators online and onstage by:

  • allowing artists from 17 European countries to upload their music and have it heard and voted on by other artists and music fans across the continent
  • inviting the highest rated artists to perform on a Coke sponsored stage
  • releasing monthly Coke branded podcasts compiled by a panel of music industry executives
  • releasing compilation albums will also be made available with contributing artists receiving a portion of the proceeds
I would hope the artists receive a portion of the proceeds.

Regardless, this sort of campaign wouldn’t work here. No one ever takes seriously bands that are the winners of the battle of the bands type competitions. They’re strictly for high school kids and the smart high school kids don’t view them as a means to prove to their rival high school’s student body that they rock the hardest, they go to find their new drummer because Johnny or Mikey just can’t cut it.

American Idol works because of the television deal (which allows artists to immediately build a million person strong fanbase), the management deal, and the RCA Music Group record deal.

That said, there can be enormous fall-out with winning artists feeling as though they are simply singing songs chosen for them, which is totally the case, they’re being A&R’d in the most classic sense. In fact, the only American Idol winner to really grow as an artist is Kelly Clarkson.

Speaking of which.

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Filed under art/film/culture, music, music 2.0

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