updated 04:55 pm EST, Fri February 20, 2009
iTunes blipvert pushes U2
A recent ad deployed through the United Kingdom's Absolute Radio -- formerly known as Virgin Radio -- has generated some controversy, writes The Guardian. The ad promotes the new U2 single "Get On Your Boots," urging listeners to buy it through iTunes. The spot is only 10 seconds long though, and required approval from the UK's Ofcom regulatory body due to worries about issues such as subliminal advertising.
The chief operating officer of Absolute, Clive Dickens, notes that Ofcom likewise questioned if a corporate relationship with Universal Music was influencing the number of times Get On Your Boots was being played on the station, between 27 to 30 times per week. Because the high rotation existed before the ad, however, concerns are said to have been dismissed.
The ad is also believed to be notable for targeting iTunes users rather than CD buyers, an indication of trends in the mainstream music industry. Downloads continue to drain buyers away from physical outlets, and iTunes remains the world's most dominant digital storefront. Within the United States it controls roughly 70 percent of sales, defeating intense rivalry from services such as Amazon and eMusic. Apple and U2 have had a close relationship however, mainly in the form of exclusives and a U2-branded iPod.