Hollywood studios are using free apps on the iPhone to promote movies. One of the first is for the latest James Bond flick, Quantum of Solace. It lets you watch the movie trailers and offers links to the iTunes Store for purchasing theme songs and such. Some are slightly innovative, such as The Dark Knight, lets you add Joker-style graffiti to photos. Bolt, Disney’s forthcoming animated movie, has released a free game patterned after Super Monkey.
Bands are getting in the act, though not in an innovative way (yet). Pink’s app lets you see pictures, hear music, read a discography and bio, and so on. Snow Patrol has gone as far as to create an arty presentation of origami papers that unfold to reveal lyrics to songs on the album.
All this stuff proves that the iPhone has shaken up, not just stirred up, the content industry.
The movie and music apps remind me of the days, over a decade ago, when my colleagues helped Peter Gabriel and David Bowie create arty interactive CD-ROMs (I also did a documentary with music, called “Haight-Ashbury in the Sixties”). None of us knew, really, what we were doing. Shaken by the medium, we were not stirred into anything resembling a profitable business.
But then, we couldn’t afford to give the CD-ROMs away. Today’s free iPhone app is an entirely new medium for advertising. And while we may criticize these first attempts, expect an onslaught to appear in the next month or so.