April 28, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Latest Location Gambit: Checking In For Free Music

checking in for free musicTo some, 2011 is the year people will stop “checking in” at places, because the whole thing is just so over. To others, the idea of checking in to a place is very much alive – but as a feature, rather than as a standalone company.

Even check-in dissenters would concede that people are more likely to check in to a place if they’re rewarded for doing so, whether for a discount (like the one at my otherwise un-wired local grocery store) or to get something for free.

We’ve just tested a new program new program from Neurotic Media that gives people who check in to a given location free MP3s from a single artist, a playlist’s worth of tunes, or credits towards any music on an online music service.

The current example uses Facebook Places and an HTML5 mobile app; to try it, go to m.amplified.com with your smartphone with location services enabled for your phone’s browser. It didn’t work perfectly, in that the app put us many blocks away at the Atlantic Chip Shop; Neurotic Media spokeswoman Becka Hardy told us that venues need to be Facebook Places already, which my office is not.

Retailers and other businesses now have a potentially worthwhile new way to attract customers, while music marketers will likely experiment with this concept, whether through Neurotic’s or some other technique in order to reach new fans.

“Our Music Check-In Incentives are like a musical ‘Facebook Deal,’ an incentive with high perceived value that grants a brand the power to acquire and retain consumers,” said Neurotic Media CEO Shachar Oren in a prepared statement. “In the eyes of consumers, the perceived value of music is often greater than cash rewards or other forms of incentives [ed. note: we don't know about that]. Our new check in service can generate exposure for our clients, communicate great value about their brand, and help them reach new and existing consumers with a reward everyone loves: The gift of music.”

There will be countless ways to do this wrong. Well-intentioned locations and marketers will surely stumble upon many of them.

The most obvious mistake will be to offer music from a heavily-promoted band that has nothing to do with the location in question. The average coffee purchaser probably doesn’t need yet another way to have the latest Black-Eyed Peas creation rammed down their throat, but with the right music, at the right location, this form of check-in could pay dividends for all three parties: local businesses, artists, and listeners.

In other words, the check-in-for-music concept doesn’t have to be just another annoying marketing gimmick — but only if marketers and venues take the time to associate the right music with the right places. For example, people could be more likely to check in:

  • to receive a mix of the hottest-trending local bands in their area;
  • to a live music venue, in order to receive music from the band that’s playing, especially if it’s a remix or unreleased single that fans aren’t likely to have already;
  • for three free months of MOG, Pandora, Slacker, Spotify, or another service (the idea here would be to offer something more substantial than credits towards downloads that might even convince users to subscribe long-term);
  • for credits in a game-like social music app such as AudioVroom;
  • for a mix from the same DJ who’s spinning at the club where they’re dancing;
  • or maybe even for a playlist consisting of music from every barista on staff with a band. You know there are at least, like, six of them.

(Front page courtesy of Flickr/Pocheco)

  • http://twitter.com/jdrch Judah Richardson

    This sounds like an awesome idea :)

  • Shachar Oren

    Thanks for the coverage Eliot. Regarding the percieved value of music being higher than many other offerings, this is an issue we have proven repeatedly over the course of years of supporting gift with purchase incentives and rewards. For example, when offered games, music, and movies, 80% of consumers choose music. And once they recieve music, redemption ratios are very high, averaging 30% off of physical products/locations and 65%+ online. Conclusion: People love getting free music, more so than other freebees by far. Next, regarding curation, we agree, it is more powerful to empower the consumer with X credits and allow them to choose whatever music they want from a variety covering millions of songs, rather than pre-choose for them.