A joint session at MidemNet this morning saw Vodafone’s content services director Lee Epting and Foursquare co-founder Naveen Selvadurai (who used to work at Sony Music, incidentally), quizzed by Ralph Simon, CEO of the Mobilium Advisory Group.
Epting kicked off by talking about Vodafone’s music services. It sells full-track music in 15 countries, and has music services in roughly 30 local markets. “We are targeting one million paid subscribers for music in this calendar year, and in the UK we’re already in excess of 100,000 paid subscribers for music.”
The operator has moved to a DRM-free model for music, while also putting a strong emphasis on selling subscriptions. That’s what’s fuelled the numbers above.
At the end of last year, Vodafone worked with Songbird to customise the latter’s desktop application for PC and Mac, plugging in music services like Last.fm. “It’s our job to really leverage the innovation community that’s here [at MidemNet]to make our experiences richer.”
Onto Naveen from Foursquare, which now has six million users checking in to real-world locations from their smartphones. He talked about the app’s system of mayorships and badges, with friends competing to check-in most at specific venues.
The company has launched a ‘Pizza’ badge to encourage its users to visit ten different pizza restaurants in their city, and a similar thing for karaoke. “This little badge… actually is leading people to meet each other and go do things in real life.”
The company works with brands – publishers, magazines, TV broadcasters and others. All brands can have a page in the Foursquare system. “You can follow brands on Foursquare and get tips when you check in from those brands,” he said.
So, Bravo offers tips at certain venues from characters in its shows. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal offers local news tips for venues – right down to ‘don’t go to this station right now, there are signal problems’.
Foursquare is planning to do more with recommendations in the coming months, suggesting places users might like to visit. And secondly: “The game mechanics are now almost two years old, so we’re going to make it a bit more personal,” he said.