This week, Madonna released a new album, MDNA. The marketing push for the album has involved traditional advertising as well as social media events, and an official iPad app.
The iPad app includes all the basics, like a section devoted to highlighting notable songs in Madonna’s career, the latest news from her official website, a photo gallery, a number of music videos, and a link to Madonna’s online merchandise shop. As one explores the app, music clips from Madonna’s various songs play, and you can navigate through those tracks from the main screen:
The app is quite interactive. Fans can link their Twitter and Facebook accounts, leave comments, “like” media, and leave comments on a Fan Wall. Almost every piece of content in the app allows fans to interact with it or with other fans. For example, the 2012 Tour section includes every single tour date. Fans can identify themselves as attending a particular concert date, and through the comments section, interact with other fans who are attending that same show or with fans attending other shows. Interaction with media and other fans in the app awards users with points, which drives engagement. Each time a fan does something in the app, such as “likes” a photo, they are prompted to optionally share that activity on Twitter, Facebook, or email.
A leaderboard of Top Users further compels fans to stay engaged with the content in the app. The leaderboard displays Top Users of All Time, and displays Monthly, Weekly, and Daily Top Users. There is also an iPhone app available, and it was released well before the iPad app. User accounts are linked, so points are shared across the two apps. The leaderboard feature mostly appears to encourage the Top Users to compete with each other and spam comments and “likes.” The accumulated points do not appear to decay, however I have only been using the app for a day or two, so I can’t confirm.
My favorite sections of the app are all the sections containing rich media: Career, Vidoes, and Photos. Watching some of those videos and listening to some of the songs took me back.
Whilst I’m a big fan of Madonna, I’m not someone who plasters her ceilings and walls with Madonna paraphanelia, like some fans who post on the app’s Fan Wall. I am a newsletter subscriber, which means that I only get major news updates. For fans like me, the Madonna iPad app could serve as a gateway to greater engagement with her brand.
The app is slightly buggy, and has crashed on me a few times. There is also some sloppy development, as I’ve seen news posts in the app where website code is exposed inline next to news content text.
The only other app I have that is devoted to a musical artist is the Sting 25th Anniversary app for iPad. The Sting app has a far greater scope and is an excellent, comprehensive retrospective of Sting’s career, containing clips, short text anecdotes, and the like. The Madonna app pales in comparison to that, however given its obvious tie-in to the MDNA album launch and the 2012 tour, it is clear that its goals are completely different to the Sting app. For what it is, I think the Madonna app is excellent.