One of the best things happened this week – the first US iTunes Festival took place at SXSW in Austin, Texas! While I couldn’t be there and while it isn’t as great as the original, London-based iTunes which offers 30 days of free concerts, the five days of concerts kept me awake and entertained while I did my homework. As you might guess, I love the iTunes Festival. I watched every concert in September. I watched the recordings again throughout the month of October. I was able to listen to some of my favorite artists. I was exposed to new acts and to different types of music. I even bought some new releases that I first heard about through the iTunes Festival.
Apple is probably glad that I did. Because while iTunes provides these free concerts – free to lucky ticket winners, streamed live world-wide for free, and recorded and available to watch for free for a month after the concerts – that’s what the Festival is really about for Apple, for iTunes, and for the artists. It’s about selling music. There’s a link right from the concert to buy albums or singles. Apple also produces EPs of each concert for sale. They know what the audience wants and they know how to make it easy for the audience.
However, I noticed something new this week that I don’t remember from the fall. It could have happened then and I didn’t notice as I’m usually doing homework so not watching to the concerts as much as listening to them. Or it could be that I’m just more attuned to this because of Beth’s earlier post on the Oscar ‘selfie’ and Samsung’s product placement. But what I noticed is that both the artists and the audience are using their Apple devices – iPhones and iPads – to take photos and videos throughout the concerts. At times, the cameramen quite noticeably focus on shots of how the concert looks through the screen of an iPhone. The lead singer of Soundgarden spends almost a minute filming the audience while talking to them and, although he never mentions it, his iPhone gets a starring role in the broadcast.
It’s smart marketing by Apple. They stay consistent with their creative, rebellious, different image by offering concerts by leading artists, including some whose lyrics are a bit controversial. These free concerts are a great way to gain goodwill with their target audience. At the same time, they are able to directly sell one of their most popular products, iTunes music, and discreetly promote others, iPhones and iPads. I had to look up the right word but I think Apple should get credit for achieving a Superfecta!
FYI: A Superfecta is a horse-racing bet where there bettor correctly identifies the first 4 horses to finish a race and the order in which they finish.