This BlackBerry Phusion promotion with U2 is simply brilliant. Phusion as a concept is the collaboration of musicians and phone companies to deliver their media to the public through a variety of new and established distribution/marketing channels by leveraging Web and Mobile 2.0 concepts.
In its simplest form, Phusion manifests itself as simply making the record available from a phone company’s music store. This form of digital distribution was pioneered by Apple and the iPhone using iTunes as their distribution engine. As a solution for purchasing music, this is incredibly elegant and has allowed millions to reconsider how they purchase media. However, musicians have been searching for more; they long for the days before digital distribution when the LP record was meant to be consumed from beginning to end as an opus in celebration of their musical masterpiece.
Phusion as a marketing concept allows the message to become the medium not only solving the broken distribution system but also allowing for the deeper levels of artistic fulfillment. This approach is layered and contextualized as a multifaceted marketing delivery service that allows for full collaboration between the artist and his medium and signals the death knell of the large recording labels.
Tero Ojanperä at Nokia was well documented in a recent Fast Company article discussing the evolution of Nokia as a content and services delivery company. However, in Ojanperä‘s wildest dreams he could not have delivered the realities of this platform as elegantly as Jim Balsillie’s Research In Motion, makers of the popular BlackBerry devices, have delivered the new album from U2. RIM has taken the delivery of content to a new level of collaborative art form. I will give credit to Nokia for the Phusion of 'Dance Fabulous' as a music game, but this is subpar to what 'Rock Band' and 'Guitar Hero' have already delivered in the console games market.
RIM launched with a traditional mass media advertising campaign and tour sponsorship and there is really no innovation on what recording labels could have delivered. But if you also consider that RIM also worked with U2 in promotion of the album with a truly interactive application delivering new levels of social collaboration on the mobile device, you can see how RIM is truly brilliant. They are tapping into our primal need to use music as the language of the soul and allowing us to sate our hunger to share that language and how it moves us with our communities of interest in novel ways.
I imagine executives at all phone manufactures are conjuring up images of their collaborations while their counterparts at the recording labels are turning grey thinking of ways to artificially insert themselves in the process.