Microsoft is about to get the party started this summer with their own summer music festival. The international computer tech company will host “Live At The BBQ”, a series of free, outdoor music concerts designed to promote Zune, their digital audio player and program. The portable music player isn’t even a year old yet and they are off and running, as they attempt to move in on some of the digital audio market.
While Zune has had some creative promotional efforts in the past, from their limited edition players, feverish auctions, and so called “Zune Masters” camping out at campuses nationwide, their latest efforts might send them over the top and make a significant impression on the finicky high tech fans.
“Live At The BBQ” will feature such top rated hip-hop celebrities such as Common, UKG, Mos Def, The Clipse, David Banner, E-40, and new dancehall sensations Collie Budz and Cham to name a few. In keeping with the name sake, Zune was smart enough to enlist the help of one of Hip-Hop’s favorite producers/emcees, Large Professor of Main Source. Rightfully so, as they are borrowing the name of their series, from a song featured on Main Source’s critically acclaimed album Breaking Atoms.(Listen)
The series kicks off here in Los Angeles, with shows planned for Chicago and New York and is a celebration of Hip-Hop music and its community. Few major corporations have held such an event, specifically targeted for Hip-Hop audiences.
The good people at Zune are being very tight lipped about the times and locations of the venues. The Los Angeles show took place July 12th and the only information I was given was that I was on the list. Perhaps Zune is taking a cue from MySpace and their Secret Shows, waiting until the last possible minute to announce their venues. The actual start time was something like 3 in the afternoon, making it impossible for me to catch. Maybe you’ll have better luck if you try the NY or Chicago gigs.
Zune is up against some serious competition in the portable audio player wars, as iPod is miles ahead of the pack. With the recent introduction of the iPhone and the rabid like fans of all things Apple, Zune certainly has a lot of catching up to do. Add to that the slow start that the Microsoft based company had, when they initially introduced their players to the world, Zune was forced to regroup and show the world they have what it takes, to satisfy tech consumers ever growing tastes and demands.
The “Live From The BBQ” series is aimed to do just that. It’s a celebration of Hip-Hop music, perfectly timed for the summer season. They hope to recreate the feeling of parties in the park by offering cool sounds and good barbeque. The series is receiving support from the performers, who are all more than happy to be a part of the show. Bun B, of the southern Hip-Hop group UGK is quoted as saying "Live at the BBQ is helping to bring Hip Hop back to a golden age where records were produced and iconic artists rose directly out of their local communities. It's a chance to put singles, ring tones, and industry hype aside and just get a bunch of our friends together for some great music and BBQ – Let's eat." Sounds like a good idea to me.
To read more about the concert series, visit Zunes website, register for your free tickets, mark your calendars, and save some room for burgers and hot dogs, fresh off the grill, courtesy of Zune!