Apple-flavoured Coke site to promote unsigned bands


2 Aug 2006

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Coca-Cola and Apple will launch a new branded music website for unsigned bands in Ireland next month as part of a Europe-wide partnership between the two companies.

The site is located at www.Coca-Cola.com/music and will be available from next week. The Irish launch is scheduled for September. It will integrate with Apple’s iTunes music player software, the companies said.

Other countries involved in the launch are Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the UK. As part of the launch, live concerts will be staged in each of the participating countries. Selected live songs and video podcasts from the performances will then be available for download from iTunes and www.Coca-Cola.com/music.

The site will include links to new music and information on up-and-coming bands that aren’t signed to music labels. The groups will be able to upload songs to the site, giving them the possibility of wider exposure for their songs through ‘artist highlights’ sections, along with inclusion on European podcasts available through iTunes. Participating bands also have a chance of being invited to play at Coke-sponsored European festivals.

Apple’s iTunes is one of the most popular legal music download sites on the internet, boasting a catalogue of more than three million songs. In Europe, the site has sold more than 200 million songs with 150 million of those sold in just the past year.

Coke and Apple’s partnership marks the latest move by large corporates to tap into youth culture and music that falls outside the mainstream. The social networking site MySpace.com has played a part in promoting teenage garage bands and last year it became part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire for the tidy sum of US$585m. Closer to home is another site for unsigned acts, Bandwagon. This site was recently launched in Ireland, having amassed 4,300 bands in the UK over the past three months.

Speaking to siliconrepublic.com recently, Bandwagon founder Huw Thomas summed up the popularity of these kinds of social sites: “To today and tomorrow’s music buyer, recommendations from their own community of like-minded people are important,” he said. “The model is that friends can show each other their playlists and what they like and it acts as a catalyst for new acts to emerge. It’s a powerful way for new bands to promote themselves.”

By Gordon Smith and John Kennedy