Wireless carriers appear poised to deliver on what the mobile industry has long seen as its holy grail — location-based services.
Today’s mobile phones can provide remarkably specific location data to their users through a combination of embedded GPS chips and network-based cell-tower data. It’s a feature that holds great promise for commercial applications by providing the ability to deliver to mobile phone users information, entertainment and advertising tailored to their location.
Potential applications could be as simple as alerting fans when artists listed as their favorite on Facebook are appearing in their area, or offering them a discount on the album if they walk by a participating record store. Others can be more complicated, such as using music as a filter on mobile location-based dating services, or enabling members of a text-message fan club to find each other at concerts.
There are opportunities for the touring business as well, such as providing directions to a venue where an artist might be playing a surprise show, or less aggressive applications such as listing all the gigs scheduled in a user’s immediate area.
What does this mean for the music industry? Grossman said WaveMarket is already working with several labels he declined to identify to develop LBS applications for new album releases and marketing plans.
Label sources admitted that they are only now starting to scratch the surface of any potential LBS applications, which to date revolve mainly around coupons and contests. Jive/Zomba said it is exploring using the technology in an upcoming David Archuleta campaign.