Picks of the Week: June 26, 2017
Tidal and Sprint are partnering to exclusively release Jay-Z’s new album 4:44
It was announced that Jay-Z’s newest album will be released through a partnership between Tidal, a music subscription service which Jay-Z co-owns, and Sprint. The partnership will give customers who switch to Sprint access to the album and a 6-month Tidal trial. Jay-Z made a similar move when he released his 2013 album in partnership with Samsung, giving Samsung users early access. The move makes sense to Tidal, as Kanye West’s latest album and Tidal exclusive, caused the service’s memberships to jump from 1 million to 2.5 million. New subscribers will ultimately benefit Sprint as it owns a 33% stake in the company. Sprint will also donate $2 from every new line activation to their 1 Million Project, providing Internet access to low-income high school students. From a customer loyalty standpoint, Sprint’s existing customers will reap the benefits of early access, but the inauthenticity of the partnership can be argued as limiting access to music contradicts the premise of yielding Internet access. The program provides access, but limiting an album’s release to those who subscribe to a service, or sign up for Sprint, promotes exclusivity – especially amongst the low-income individuals that the foundation seeks to benefit.
Fitbit named sponsor of Minnesota Timbewolves and will appear on their jerseys
This week, the Minnesota Timberwolves announced a new three-year partnership with the wearable tech company, Fitbit. Fitbit will appear on the team’s jersey for the upcoming season and will also appear on their G-League affiliate jerseys. Both parties see the deal as an opportunity to utilize both teams as testing grounds for Fitbit products in order to find new ways to enhance basketball performance. The team will make all devices available to players and employees in an effort to further establish the organization as a leader in corporate health and wellness. The Timberwolves also plan on merging the technology with the newly renovated Target Centre by having nutritional information on concession items in the food logging section of the Fitbit app. The tech innovator will also benefit from an extended reach through the team’s social channels which will include a branded Fitbit Stat Tracker that will showcase player stats and involvement in community relations events. Both sides stand to benefit from an integrated partnership with Fitbit securing a testing ground for new tech while the Timberwolves have access to biometric data and another way to engage with their fans.
EE Pitches World’s First 4G ‘Smart Tent’ at Glastonbury Festival
European telecom company EE unveiled the world’s first 4G-connected smart tent at the Glastonbury Music Festival in the UK. EE has been named the Official Technology and Communications partner for Glastonbury festival for the fourth year running and created the 4GEE Smart Tent in the centre of the 900-acre site. Inspired by Smart Home technology as well as suggestions from festival fans on what would enhance their camping experience, the 4GEE Smart Tent will feature a number of connected technologies. The tent is equipped with a mini fridge that tweets when drink stocks are running low, an entertainment centre that will show the BBC’s live streams of six stages across the festival, VR content captured on-site, and a voice-activated party setting that allows guests to set the music and lighting. Over the past several years, many brands have begun to understand just how important music is to their younger customers, and research clearly shows that people will welcome brands in their live music experiences provided they are the right fit. Additionally, 99% of people who attend events capture content, and 100% of them share their experience on social media – a fact that EE is aiming to capitalize on in a big way. In fact, they are preparing for the most shared live event of 2017, expecting an equivalent of 400 million selfies being uploaded to social media, and hence bringing in their most powerful network. The sponsorship space at music festivals is becoming increasingly cluttered, making it harder for brands to break through. And so, the brands that can provide an enhancing experience are the ultimately the ones that will enjoy the greatest recall.
Time Warner strikes partnership with Snap Inc.
This week, Time Warner Inc. announced a $100 million partnership with Snap Inc. allowing them to produce bite-sized dramas and comedies for the social platform. The deal involves two years of ads and up to 10 original shows from Time Warner properties HBO, Turner and Warner Bros. With Snapchat reaching 70% of 18-to 24-year-olds in America, this deal represents an attempt by Time Warner to connect with a hard-to-reach audience. The deal is timely for Snap Inc. as they have struggled after its initial public offering in March, the company has been seeking an opportunity to re-engage consumers. Snapchat faces many difficulties in their battle to entertain a young demographic of consumers as they are in competition with Instagram. This content partnership may be the answer as Snap saw shares spike up 7.2% upon the announcement of the deal, however, it remains to be seen if the spike will remain.