European Musicians Using Barcode Marketing to Stream Music from Posters to Phones

July 20, 2009  |  1:15pm
A dance producer in the U.K. who calls himself Grum is making use of some pretty newfangled technology to promote his work. The artist uses 2D barcode marketing to make his music accessible to anyone walking down the street, allowing people to listen to his work simply by scanning a barcode on one of his posters with their cell phone.

The barcode technology began development in 1994, when a Japanese corporation created the QR (Quick Response) Barcode, designed to be decoded at high speeds. Now, artists like Grum are imprinting the QR codes on their merchandise so that users can simply point their camera phones at a poster like a magic wand, and (ta-da!) immediately discover new music...or old hip-hop. RhymeLibrary exists solely to re-connect music lovers with old-school rap via QR codes, making it possible to stream Funkdoobiest and N.W.A. straight to your cell following a quick barcode scan. 


Beyond music, the technology is being put to work to earn advertising dollars, too. NeoMedia Technologies, a leading barcode strategist, has worked on an array of different applications, from scannable coupons with McDonald's to interactive textbooks with Prentice Hall. One blogger writes that Mazda has coupled with the tech corporation to promote the pre-launch of the new Mazda 3 in Austria. Mazda's advertisements in two Austrian magazines will contain a QR code that will link users to mobile content.

Still, we say that Grum's approach is probably the coolest. The technology hasn't quite made its way to the U.S. yet, but a trial run at Case Western Reserve University found that 73% of participants thought that code scanning was valuable, despite the fact that U.S. cell phone users have to download special software to handle the QR codes.

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