Mountain Dew Heads Where Cool Kids Are

Soft Drink Brand Launches Digital Record Label

By Published on .

Cool Kids Mountain Dew cover
Watch out, Red Bull, Mountain Dew has beaten you out of the gate.

Sprouting from its Green Label Art initiative, the Pepsi brand has launched a virtual record label dedicated to digital singles. Green Label Sound, as the nascent outlet is called, has lined up two artists so far, Chicago hip-hop group Cool Kids and boy-girl synth duo Matt and Kim, and more are promised for this fall.

For the launch yesterday, Cool Kids released the new track "Delivery Man" as a free MP3 single, complete with Mountain Dewey album art by Green Label artist PJ Richardson. It's a spare affair, with a beat that's scarcely more than a snappy live kit and hyperactive chords played on an organ.

Despite some initially overheated repulsion from the blogosphere, Green Label Sound is really not novel enough to raise eyebrows from anyone who's been watching the space for the past years. But here's a few things we like about it:
  • No strings attached. To grab the track, you don't have to divulge your e-mail address, something that's become acceptable these days even for free downloads not sponsored by marketers.

  • It's portable. The embeddable widget (below) will play the song or let you download it without any fuss, and there's even size options to fit it on your blog.

  • It's free. Duh! It's hard justifying to a consumer why he or she should pay for sponsored music. MD is positioning this as a label (somewhat like RCRD LBL), but (smartly) not counting on it as a source of revenue itself.

  • It's natural. Mountain Dew is an irreverent brand -- hell, it's named after moonshine and was initially marketed as a drink chaser for hillbillies -- and through past art, film and games, Pepsi has built it into a company that's entirely comfortable digging its fingers into popular culture.
Mountain Dew was a brand built on music, particularly the song "Olde Mountain Dew" by Appalachian musician Bascom Lamar Lunsford, which helped bring the term into popular usage and which was adapted for the soft drink's first TV ads in the early 1960s. Perhaps someday Pepsi can revive the tune and bring their musical ambitions full-circle.

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