Shakira and Verizon Team Up For Exclusive

Verizon Wireless has teamed up with Shakira to offer some of the recording star’s material only through Verizon Wireless VCAST. Specifically, Shakira’s next single, “Hips Don’t Lie”, will only be available through VZW’s wireless music service for two months prior to its general release. The music single will be accompanied by a ringtone, ringback tone, screen saver, video, and further supported by a national TV ad campaign. Though positioned as “Shakira chose VZW because of how great…yada yada yada…” the reality is that VZW probably paid a fair price for exclusive access to this content, essentially buying a short-term monopoly. On the one hand, that may be just good business. It’s the kind of thing that may drive some marginal music fans to VZW’s VCAST to try it out. On the other hand, it’s unlikely that many cell phone purchases are made based on the availability of this exclusive content. The whole deal reminds us distinctly of almost exactly the same type of arrangement that seems to have worked in South Korea since about 2002. Lastly, click “Read More” below to see how much it might cost a subscriber to fully indulge their craving for Shakira on VCAST. Oh, and by the way, hips do lie. I’ve seen it happen many, many times.

John Harrobin, the VP Marketing for VZW said, "We are proud that V CAST Music gives customers what they want -- a single place to enjoy one song in many ways. Enabling fans to enjoy and personalize their favorite song in a myriad of different ways provides a compelling value proposition not only for consumers, but for artists and the music industry in a significantly more powerful way than has ever been done with a single song download alone." But it goes without saying that VZW expects the fans to pay for each of the myriad different ways the access the song.

Let's see (estimating the prices): $2 for the song, $1 for the wallpaper, $1 for the ringtone, $2 for the ringback tone...what are we at now...$6 and we haven't touched on the video yet. This begs the question: When has a single song ever been able to extract over $6 from a customer?

The amount of money that a VCAST Shakira indulgence might cost is either great or terrible, depending on what position you take. If you're in the media or telecom industry, you might be very interested in this VZW/Shakira experiment in order to see how much money can be squeezed out of the consumer for basically one song in many formats.

If you're the consumer, and a Shakira fan, you might be elated at the myriad ways you can access the artist's content...or you might get a little miffed that the full package of content for this song adds up to a big wad of cash.

We're as curious as anyone to watch the experiment unfold.

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