Friday, 5 March 2010


A number of iPhone app developers have run competitions in the last year or so to promote interest in their music apps, and whilst I've never taken part in any of them I've always enjoyed watching the entries and the seeing who the winner is and why.

Many of these competitions have focused in on users making videos of themselves playing the app or making some kind of music with the app. The videos that are submitted get on the developers site and of course on YouTube and generate interest in the product, which is of course the main reason for running the competition.

I've no idea of how well these competitions do in terms of generating sales of apps, but the very fact that I see a constant stream of them suggests that they work to some degree.

One current example is RJDJ's competition around their Love app from Air. This one focuses on users making recordings from the app. I know from listening to the RJDJ team talk about the competition at Open Music Media that they're getting plenty of entries to it.

One of the biggest was Smule's competition around their ocarina app which generated enormous interest but also had a huge amount of prize money to give away.

Firstly, you're app needs to lend itself to a competition type activity. If you look at the smule competition or the Star6 competition they both involved users making videos of live performance with the app in some context. If you're app doesn't lend itself to video then don't go that way. However the RJDJ competition involves user generated content which is just as accessible.

Competitions can generate a lot of interest, but are also a lot of work to administer. You have to know what you want to achieve from it and be able to measure how much interest and revenue you generate as a result. There are no guarantees with this kind of promotion. If you go down this route you must define how you're going to do it and what you want to get back. How will people enter the competition and how will you judge the winner. What's the prize and how will you get it to the eventual winner wherever they are in the world.

There's plenty to think about, but there's no doubt that as a method of promotion if can work really well.

I hope that you find this useful. If you have suggestions for future articles or if there's anything in the article you want more on then please email me at

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