Culture, Content and Codes

Culture (Music, Books, Food)

Google opens Android music store to challenge Apple iTunes

Currently only available in the US, Google have managed to sign up all the main music labels – except Warner Music so no Prince! Access to content is becoming key for these rivals to retain customers within their systems. By linking purchases to an account on an Apple or Google device it’s difficult for users to switch – “Everyone is using music and media as a jail. Ultimately, this stuff is going to be stored in the cloud and it becomes harder and harder to switch systems”. Also both companies have launched services in the US that allow you to access songs you own on any of your Android or iOS devices. As expected the Apple version is slicker and requires less work but costs $25 a year whereas the Android version is free. In an added extra, Google aims to let artists distribute their own work on Google Music – build an artist page, set prices and sell directly to fans. This could prove a nifty way to increase the content library for users if up and coming artists take this approach. 

Telling Stories

While some people predict the “death of print” what is clear is that storytelling is alive and kicking. New digital forms of stories are taking off all over the world, with the rise of self-publishing a particularly noticeable trend, supported by legend Seth Godin’s project with Amazon.

Order a takeaway from the chef next door

This idea caught my eye a few weeks back and I love the concept. A new company called Housebites offers hungry people the chance to order a reasonably priced takeaway from a local chef in their area. You go on the website, type in your post code and choose the chefs (rated by other users) and menus on offer that day. The order then gets biked round. This offers chefs the chance to test new recipes, build a following before opening a restaurant or just enjoy cooking someone a full menu rather than one element of one. Another example of community activation.

Fashion content

Fashion brands embracing online video

This shows the top ten fashion youtube videos in 2011 across branded and non-branded channels. Some key insights into what makes fashion content views fly are unsurprisingly some form of celebrity involvement — whether in front of or behind the camera but also videos with a humorous element tended to perform the best. This is something you may not consider with luxury brands but Lanvin’s lighthearted Fall 2011 campaign video  has been viewed nearly half a million times since it debuted in August despite the lack of celebrity participation.

QR codes

Tesco to free up shelf space with augmented reality trial

With our extensive knowledge of new tech – real time apps, QR codes, augmented reality, it’s easy to forget that the general public often aren’t so clued up. However, Tesco, will be trialling augmented reality in their stores, allowing customers to have 360 views of the products, such as TVs, which take up lots of shelf space. Is this the tipping point towards mass awareness? HMV too using QR codes in a new outdoor campaign. Together with Fox they have turned bus stops into virtual shelves with each DVD containing its own QR code so consumers can scan and purchase on the spot. Given the season, it might be quite successful when you’re sitting at the bus stop and realise you’ve forgotten that one present.


Virgin Book Your Holiday by Weather

Now this idea obviously has a targeted audience, namely those who are a fan of spontaneity and adventure, and have strong ideas of what they want the weather to be like on holiday. However, the idea behind it is fantastic, it wasn’t too long ago that holidays had to be booked months before through a travel agent, and now we can pretty much take off without knowing our destination.


Tumblr Numbers

For those of you who are not as Tumblr conscious, it falls somewhere between a fully fledged blog and twitter, with an emphasis on “reblogging”, and in the last year it blew up somewhat. Despite being around since 2007, the past year has seen it grow globally by 900%, putting tumblr on most peoples radar.

Behaviour change

PleaseCycle aims to ‘gamify’ commute with Bike Miles

PleaseCycle have launched another iteration of rewarding people with points for cycling. We wrote about TfL using this initiative a few weeks ago and PleaseCycle aims to make this a corporate scheme. What’s next – local councils offering you points for good behaviour – recycling, volunteering in your borough?


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