Ride-Hailing Apps Are The New Record Stores

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Food trucks are everywhere, so why not mobile music stores? The potential for a mobile retailer of physical music products may feel like a pipe dream, but at least one ride-hailing company is currently doing their best to disrupt the world of music sales with an innovative approach to artist collaborations. Lyft, perhaps the second most recognized app of its kind behind Uber, has partnered with Justin Bieber to offer fans the chance to grab a digital download of the singer’s new album, Purpose, for just $5. It’s a limited time offer, lasting 10 days in total, and its being promoted with a viral campaign that finds Bieber surprising fans on random Lyft rides across America. Here’s a promotional video released by Lyft late last week:

Here’s how it works: To get your copy of Purpose for just $5, all you have to do is slide into ‘Bieber Mode’ (Yes that is a real thing) in the Lyft app between 9 p.m. PST 11/12 and 11:59 p.m. PST 11/19 while supplies last and tap ‘Buy & Ride.’ Then, after you finish at least a $5 ride, Lyft sends you a unique download link and credit your account $5 for your next ride.

Anyone who has ever used a ride-hailing app in the past knows it doesn’t take long to spend $5, so I imagine practically anyone who desires the new Bieber album will be able to get a copy through using Lyft without much stress. From my research, ‘Bieber Mode’ offers the cheapest option for purchasing Purpose, just as long as the cost of your ride does not exceed $10. That price point puts Lyft in a unique position during what will almost unquestionably be the album’s biggest single sales week, and if proven to make a significant impact on the number of units moved you can bet the company’s competitors will follow suit with deals of their own in the months ahead. 

Really though, this promotional collaboration seems like a better deal for Lyft, as the company is seeking to connect with the demographic Bieber’s music appeals to the most. Recent studies have shown less than 70% of people 16-21 even have a driver’s license these days, so demand for services like Lyft are on the rise, as is the number of competitors in the ride-hailing market. Aligning themselves with Bieber during the height of his comeback allows Lyft to target young people in a way Uber, Fasten, and all the competitors cannot possibly hope to match with copying their idea. It’s honestly kind of genius.

The question still remains as to whether or not this promotion will work. A lot of press has already been given to the company’s initial reveal of their Bieber collaboration, but it’s unlikely any hard data will be released regarding the successfulness of the campaign. We reached out to Lyft for additional information on this promotion, as well as any future music collaborations they may have planned, but we did not receive a response.

Purpose, the new album from Justin Bieber, is available now wherever music is sold.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.