EMI Music UK extends ‘The Raft’ online music brand from web to mobile with the launch of its mobile portal on December 16th. By texting ‘GO RAFT’ to 85080 (free text from all networks), consumers will be able to access a huge array of official, artist approved content especially tailored for mobile, including news, ringtones, realtones, remixable tones, tour information, images and competitions across a broad range of music genres and artists.
This launch is the first time that remixable realtones using Fireplayer technology are available outside of the UK’s mobile network operator portals.
Danny Van Emden, Digital Media Director at EMI Music UK, comments, “For us, The Raft is already a successful channel for building and sustaining our relationship with consumers. By taking the brand to mobile we are adding a whole new dimension to the way EMI’s music fan community can interact with our artists.”
She continues, “WAP provides a way for EMI Music UK to pull together all of its mobile assets to provide music lovers of all genres with a richer browsing experience, in their pocket. We hope to create lasting ‘mobile’ relationships with music fans by providing a transparent and high quality service, keeping them in touch with their favourite artists and introducing them to emerging talent and music icons.”
The portal, which is built and hosted by New-Visions, provides something for every music fan – from popular music to niche areas such as jazz, classics, comedy, TV themes and film music. There is a live newsfeed for breaking stories, tour dates and featured artist areas which include Artist A-Zs and weekly competitions. Wap.the-raft.com will also host the UK top 10s in pop, dance, rock and Bollywood.
The portal will also include special features, kicking off with Christmas realtones and ringtones plus an ‘Essential tracks of 2005’ selection.
The ‘browse and buy’ technology being used to sell content on the site is provided by Bango, the platform for content providers selling mobile content off-portal. It allows users anywhere in the world to pay for music and ringtones using their phone bill, by credit/debit card or by PayPal®.
On the subject of content purchasing, Van Emden comments, “We care passionately about giving our customers great content and a good user experience. We want to move away from single-shot text-based purchasing of content as people can be unsure whether they have inadvertently signed up for a subscription service. Taking people into our own Raft.com mobile portal means that they are in control. They can browse through our great range of content and then buy and download straight to their phone in a much simpler way.”
Julia McNally, Director of New Visions says, ‘We’ve worked very closely with EMI to build a site that not only offers downloadable content for the consumer but also provides music information services and news. We’ve aimed to make the site as ‘sticky’ as possible to incentivise consumers to come back. The site is stocked with official artist content downloadable at a very competitive price.”
“Adding Fireplayer is unique and there will also be other exclusive additions in the new year which will include loyalty schemes and full track download bundles.”
Martin Harris, vice president of sales at Bango comments, “EMI is taking advantage of the increasing use of mobile search engines where people would browse into the Raft.com mobile portal and then buy without first having to send a text message. This is just a much more successful way of selling mobile content.”
The site will be promoted via the music community website the-raft.com, by mailshot to over 300,000 subscribers to The Raft online and by search and banner advertising.
About The Raft
the-raft.com and wap.the-raft.com or text ‘go raft’ to 85080. The Raft mobile portal launches on 16th December 2005.
The Raft website has been running over ten years now and has won a multitude of awards, from best site at NME Net Sounds Awards, to Music Week creative awards. The site has been hosting adverts and sponsorships for five years. The specialist Raft team, who comprise dedicated writers and a video content team, create bespoke advertorials, database sampling, white label editorial and streaming services to brands.
About EMI Music UK – Digital Media Division
EMI Music was the first major record company to establish a dedicated Digital Media division in 1998. The division, headed up by Danny Van Emden, the Digital Media Director, is responsible for the digital activity of EMI Music UK and Ireland and its individual music labels. In addition, each of EMI Music’s record labels - EMI Records, Innocent, Parlophone, Virgin and the catalogue division - has a Digital Media Manager responsible for developing artist specific new media opportunities, promotions and web presence.
The Digital Media division develops many of the company’s digital cross-marketing and artist promotions; providing exclusive content; managing data capture and eCRM systems; and monetising EMI Music’s assets across the digital media. The division is also responsible for the EMI Music aggregate site, the-raft.com and mobile portal wap.the-raft.com. The website has been running for 11 years and won multiple awards.
With in house skills in journalism, programming, photography, SEO and design, the team are able to generate the right mix of copywriting and creativity to exploit a range of commercial opportunities. Working with EMI’s Commercial Digital team, Digital Media has worked with retail, brand, online and mobile organisations. This year alone, the division has agreed a number of crucial deals with high profile partners including OD2, i-Tunes, mycokemusic, Napster, Orange and Vodafone Live.
Websites developed for well-known artists include Kylie.com, Kelis.co.uk, thethrills.com, nerduk.com, thedivinecomedy.com, doves.net and jamelia.com. The team is also responsible for creating artists’ web shops, selling physical products and exclusive merchandise, as well as developing mobile shops and download platforms.
EMI Music UK is part of The EMI Group, one of the largest music companies in the world and listed on the London Stock Exchange.