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Best advertising for a digital music service; and how WiMP became my streaming service of choice

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Advertising is everywhere and to truly grab potential customers attention, business have to be creative. At the end of 2013 I came across what, in my mind, has to be the best advertising I've seen for a digital music service. Obviously this is a highly subjective opinion, but I've decided to share this with you all the same.

First, a little background about the company. WiMP is a Norwegian music streaming service similar to Spotify and Rdio. It is available in Norway, Sweden, Denmark Germany and Poland. In September of last year they announced they would be performing a "spring cleaning" of their music selection. WiMP stated that so far, the norm in the music streaming world was for labels to deliver their content in compressed file formats. Often these would be highly compressed (for instance 128 kbps mp3 files). Streaming services would then have to convert these to their chosen standard. Spotify uses Ogg 160 kbps and Ogg 320 kbps. WiMP used AAC 64 kbps and AAC 256 kbps. This posed many problems for these services. The first problem was that the music they received was often highly compressed when delivered by the label. Often more so than the bit rate the service offered their customers. The second problem was that these files would then get compressed once again to adapt the files to the services chosen standard, thereby reducing quality further. A result of these two factors meant that while WiMP offered streaming in AAC 256 kbps, they would often originate from lower quality files, for instance 128 kbps mp3 files. So not only where the files now lower quality than the original, already compressed file, they were even larger in size.

WiMP decided to replace their entire catalog of files, with new higher quality one which would stem from CD quality FLAC files. No simple task for a service that offers a choice of more than 20 million different tracks. They started the process and had the labels redeliver their music in FLAC. These FLAC files where then converted to both AAC 96 kbps and AAC 320 kbps. This process is still ongoing, but last I heard they had finished replacing 85% of their catalog, and only a few indie labels remained. As a result, WiMP now offers music streaming in 320 kbps, sourced from FLAC files. In other words, the music quality of WiMP will no longer be hampered by low quality source files.

WiMP didn't stop there though. WiMP took things one step further and announced a second subscription tier. You would now have a choice between the original WiMP Premium, which now offered customers a choice between AAC 96 kbps and AAC 320 kbps, and a new subscription named WiMP HiFi giving customers access to FLAC streaming. CD quality sound was now an option, albeit at a higher price tag (99 kr for WiMP Premium, 199 kr for WiMP HiFi). As a result, WiMP is now my streaming service of choice.

WiMP started to advertise their new service. I came across one of these when purchasing a Bluesound Node (Bluesound supports WiMP HiFi).

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When purchasing any Bluesound device at Hi-Fi klubben you receive an activation code giving you access to three months of free WiMP Hifi streaming. Usually such offers would be presented with a code on a slip of paper. WiMP on the other hand really went all out and present you with an activation code packaging mimicking that of Vinyl. The packaging is a full size Vinyl sleeve, using the same quality materials you would expect from an actual Vinyl sleeve. Inside is a piece of paper made to look like a Vinyl with the activation code written on the label (removed in this picture). Fold it out and you are presented with a selection of album recommendations. Included are such albums as Liquid Spirit by Gregory Porter and Random Access Memory by Daft Punk. Inside you'll also find the following text,

"When did you last listen through an entire album without any disturbance? Take a break from social media, e-mails and the news. Find some time to truly listen. Lean back, close your eyes and find the peace you need. Enjoy a pure listening moment with WiMP HiFi."

This has to be the most creative form of marketing I've seen from a digital music service so far.