Katy Perry, Maroon 5 Help Launch Windows Phone with Free Concerts

Katy Perry gives the mix to the crowd at her performance on NBC's 'Today' in Rockefeller Center in New York City on Aug. 27.

Microsoft and AT&T will launch the new Windows Phone with free concerts featuring Katy Perry at the Roseland Ballroom in New York, and Maroon 5 at the Fillmore in San Francisco on Nov. 8, the company announces today. Tickets are available only at select AT&T stores in San Francisco and New York on the day of the shows, also the day the Windows Phone launches.

"We were looking for a way to make an emotional connection with our audience, a celebration and have some fun," Todd Peters, corporate VP of marketing for Windows Phone tells Billboard.biz. "We started with that as a premise, and that led us into 'lets do something on the East Coast and the West Coast.'"

Peters says the demographics for both artists hits the "sweet spot" for the Windows Phone target consumer, "but we also picked them for their up-tempo, life-is-good vibe," says Peters.

"We have a really broad audience, anyone that might want to buy a smart phone, and that ranges from young teens to people in their 40s, but it's also a point of view about our brand: this is pretty cool, it makes your life easier." Music events are a logical way to launch Windows Phone, given that music is a big part of what the new smart phone has to offer. "We have a killer integrated Zune experience on the phone," says Peters.

Another major aspect of the launch will come as television and online personality Rob Dyrdek and actress Minka Kelly will fly cross-country on the Really Rally Road Trip, a one-day trek on Nov. 8 that begins in New York and ends up in San Francisco at the Maroon 5 concert, with undisclosed stops in between. The promotion calls out "bad phone behavior"; Windows Phone recently began running a promotion on Facebook encouraging people to submit their "really moments" for a chance to win a Windows Phone.

The entire promotional program, a week before the launch of the phone, has a sense of urgency about it, which is a "novelty" for Microsoft, Peters says. "We're a new brand, a new entry, so giving some excitement and 'free' and urgency is a way to do it," he says. "We're going into the hot retail season, so this is a time we feel that being laid back is not a way to go. We wanted some spontaneity, and that drives more of the news, which is a) it's free, and b) it's Zune. It makes more work with everybody involved, but it's cool and coming together really well."

The two launch concerts are produced by MAC Presents. Additionally, Windows Phone is a sponsor for the Billboard Touring Conference Showcase, produced by Live Nation and to be held at the Gramercy Theater in New York on Nov. 3. On the bill are the Gracious Few, Sick Puppies, the Postelles, A Place to Bury Strangers, the London Souls, Bad Rabbits and Laura Warshauer.


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