Acting Like a Virgin Is a Good Idea

Mobile Operator Puts an Increasing Focus on Music Events

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Virgin Mobile USA announced it's sponsoring a free Bon Jovi concert designed to celebrate the Philadelphia Soul's Arena Bowl XXII win earlier this month. Jon Bon Jovi just happens to be the majority owner of the team, and this is what we like to call "synergy."

Along with the sponsorship, Virgin Mobile USA and the Philadelphia Soul are finalizing a new partnership that will run through 2009.

This is the latest in a run of music- and entertainment-based initiatives that the mobile-phone operator has been pursuing as part of its strategy to increase customer uptake and loyalty in North America.

Virgin has pursued a similar strategy in the U.K. and Australia, where it has had a series of highly successful V Festivals that have become a staple of the live summer music scene in both countries. Here in North America, Virgin's association with live music is reaching a similar status, with shows featuring high-profile acts such as The Who and Red Hot Chili Peppers in Vancouver last year and this week's show in Baltimore, which is set to feature the Foo Fighters, Wilco, Jack Johnson, Bob Dylan and Kanye West, among others.

As SFS has commented before, mobile platforms are increasingly becoming a life raft for the music industry and a platform that demands increasing focus and attention. A report from eMarketer predicts worldwide mobile-music revenue will grow from last year's figure of $2.4 billion to $13 billion by 2012. According to a report in Billboard, $8 billion of this will come from ringtone and ringback sales and $5 billion will be generated from full-track downloads, with ad-supported programs likely to grow from $42 million today to $1.5 billion by 2012.