Location-Based Tools Tying Music to Local Experiences

23 Mar

As location-based marketing becomes increasingly popular, the variation of place-centric apps is also increasing, with niche players competing to provide targeted local ads and promotions. The music industry, in particular, has staked out its place in the location-based marketing scrum through the development of applications that combine music and location into integrated marketing tools.

An important part of a musician’s success is their ability to connect with their fans and create “personal” relationships with them. This is exactly what location-based music apps allow them to do. The application Herd.fm, for instance, enables bands to upload their tracks according to location, allowing users on the app in the same location to view all the tracks and download them. The app empowers bands interested in creating a local identity within their hometown a great potential to connect with other locals.

A similar app, SoundTracking, utilizes a social network similar to Twitter to create a music sharing experience. Users are able to follow other users and gain followers, and then share whichever song is playing on their iPod or in their surroundings. If users are unaware of which song they are hearing out loud at a store or on the radio, they can hold their phone up and allow the app to recognize the song (similar to Shazam) and then publish it to their SoundTracking profile. The app provides artists with the opportunity to share their own music on their profile to their followers, but also provides them with more exposure as users share music with their followers.

Antony Bruno of DigitalMusic.org (part of the National Association of Recording Merchandisers – NARM) said in an interview that “it’s all about fan engagement.” “Every band and artist should absolutely be exploring this stuff,” he said. “We need to use these emerging platforms to enable fans to feel connected to the artist, no matter where they are.”

Another way music is being reinvented is via location-based storytelling.  One company in this space is Broadcastr, an app where stories are recorded and shared in audio format, each pegged to a specific location. Users can search for stories by location or category, or may opt to “follow” a person who they consider to be a good storyteller, sorting stories by that person into a special tab. Listeners can rate stories as they hear them, and stories can be shared with others via email, Facebook or Twitter.

A similar platform is German startup SoundCloud. SoundCloud is the world’s leading social sound platform where anyone can create sounds and share them everywhere. As users create these sounds they can tag them to the places they were created via built-in Foursquare integration.

Thom Cummings, VP Marketing for SoundCloud, said in an interview that “creating memories linked to places and saving them though technology is simply amazing.” “Sound is one of the most powerful mediums we have for recording personal histories,” he said.

One band, Bluebrain, has taken this concept of location-based music sharing even further, creating two albums that integrate with the listener’s location. Bluebrain’s two albums, National Mall and Central Park, require users to download their application, which tracks their location and changes songs from each album based on their location in Washington, D.C., for the former, and New York City for the latter. As listeners navigate through different zones, their listening experience is altered. So far, these are the only two location-based albums of this type, and both provide a completely unique experience.

Music is simply the next expression of the vast array of location-services that have the power to not just help people get from one place to the next, but to also have an emotional connected experience around the places they visit.

photo credit: Gonso†Madrid via photopin cc

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15 Responses to “Location-Based Tools Tying Music to Local Experiences”

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