Artistdirect.com starts a campaign involving about 10 million e-mails this month touting MP3 O'clock, an alarm clock that plays MP3 music clips.
Users can download 50 seconds from any CD, MP3 or WAV file into the clock and wake up to the personalized clips each morning. Buyers of the clock access a special section on Artistdirect.com where they download free MP3 files, updated monthly. Files include samples from a broad range of musicians that Artistdirect has online agreements with, including Metallica, 'Nsync and The Backstreet Boys. Seasonal and special-occasion messages, such as birthday greetings and graduation wishes, also will be available at Artistdirect.
“When we heard about this product, we thought it would be a good way to get people to click over to our site and check it out, perhaps for the first time, ” said Nick Turner, Artistdirect's senior vice president. “We think it will inspire the sale of other products and inspire people to come back to the site more often.”
Artistdirect, Los Angeles, sells exclusive CDs, band-related merchandise, clothing, collectibles and music-related DVDs. Individual Artistdirect band e-mail lists encompass nearly 10 million addresses, all of which receive targeted e-mails touting MP3 O'clock.
“For instance, we will send an e-mail to people on the Mandy Moore list that will say 'Wake up with Mandy Moore every morning and hear a new single from her new album.' As we collect the data from people who have bought the clocks and downloaded these tracks, we can make them aware of our other products if they are interested in receiving that type of information.”
Turner said the MP3 O'clock mirrors other fun services Artistdirect has offered.
“We've done everything from exclusive interviews with 'Nsync, No Doubt and The Backstreet Boys to Metallica,” Turner said. “So this offer is another piece of that.”
Starting April 2, Artistdirect is the exclusive MP3 O'clock merchant for about two months before Bloomingdales, The Sharper Image and other major retailers offer it. Offline retailer stock of the clock is labeled to tell users to visit Artistdirect.com to download exclusive MP3 files. MP3 O'clock banner ads placed on Yahoo.com link to Artistdirect.com.
The clock retails for $44.99 and comes with a serial cable connector, which connects the clock to a computer, as well as software necessary to download tracks into the clock. Users with sound cards and microphones in their computers can record their own MP3 messages.
MP3 O'clock is available in two styles. The “Visitor” is a sci-fi design with Martian-like antennas that light up and is available in clear, blue, red and green. “South Beach” is classically styled and comes in black, silver and green.