[Manic Monday] Using NFC To Distribute Your Music – And More
Near-field communication, otherwise known as NFC, is still somewhat of a mystery to most. It’s often touted as the ‘killer’ new feature of some app or phone, as it is gradually being integrated with some high-end phones (and even some mid-range phones), although most of the world still has no real use for it. The most notable use of NFC is of course mobile payment systems like Google Wallet, Isis and some Visa or Mastercard-driven programs in Europe, Singapore and Korea.
NFC is creeping into the entertainment world as well, with Nokia’s use of NFC to stream music wirelessly to external speakers and eventually to other appliances (not necessarily for entertainment), but has hardly been embraced by the entertainment world as an enabler technology. Outside of some examples of music services using NFC technology (Widi Asmoro has made a helpful example of how NFC technology is used to distribute music from a website, and stream it to a Nokia 360 wireless speaker here), nobody else in Indonesia has taken advantage of NFC technology to try spreading music – when it’s actually very easy.
By using simple passive NFC chips like the ones being sold by Sony, you can actually reprogram them to direct NFC phones to a certain website; and if it is compatible with your phone, you can even use your office ID security pass as a NFC tag. I’ve had some experience with Android so I use an app called NFC Task Launcher which enables you to program NFC tags to trigger actions on your phone, like phone silent, play a song, and of course, jump to a website. This may sound ultra-geeky – like the example where a user uses an NFC tag in a car to enable silent mode, then a tap on another NFC tag to reenable sound – but when if enables you to open websites, why not program an NFC tag to direct users to your website?
Making use of NFC tags to open a website has so many uses – simplest being getting people to visit your website, whatever it is (make sure it’s mobile optimised, though). But a website has so many uses, obviously – why not get people to your Facebook page, or sign up for a newsletter, in return for a free music download? Why not ask people to vote for their favorite version, post a message or connect with other fans? And for the phones that don’t support NFC, you can provide a similarly-linked QR code as well. QR codes are admittedly not as ‘sexy’ as they were (if they were, ever) but a good amount of phones support QR code scanning.
NFC’s not going to become mainstream any time soon – but might as well take advantage of that. Learn the technology, and find how you can use it creatively to support your music.
Ario is a co-founder of Ohd.io, an Indonesian music streaming service. He worked in the digital music industry in Indonesia from 2003 to 2010, and recently worked in the movie and TV industry in Vietnam. Keep up with him on Twitter at @barijoe or his blog at http://barijoe.wordpress.com.
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