Michael Jackson and SONY Xperia Mobile Phone, a Musical Partnership
When Michael Jackson was alive, he had a very special relationship with his fans. Unlike many famous people he welcomed the attention from the fans and was often very involved with fan clubs.
He was a SONY Music artist and when he had a new album release, the fan clubs and fans were often involved in the pre-release promotion. Sony Music would give the fan clubs promotional items or get fan club members to take part in promotional events. Before the internet became main-stream, before the age of digital downloads, when music had to be physically bought in shops
Sony Music would hold special listening parties where fans could hear a new Michael Jackson album before it went on sale in the shops.
After his death, when John Branca took over the running of The Michael Jackson Estate, he continued this special relationship and communication with fans and fanclubs. John Branca created the MJONLINE Team, a group of people who would be the link between the fans and The Michael Jackson Estate and Sony Music. All official communications would come from the MJONLINE Team; they have a Twitter account where fans can directly talk to them for example. The MJONLINE Team also have a mailing list of fans and fan clubs, which they send press releases and any other information they want the worldwide fan community to know about. The Michael Jackson fan community are very active on social media and fan websites. Within minutes of the MJONLINE team sending an email to the fan club mailing list, the announcement will be circulated on social media and posted on the fan sites.
This is a two way line of communication; fans also regularly contact the MJONLINE Team about issues regarding Michael Jackson’s music or personal life. Even in death, the fans are fiercely loyal and protective of Michael Jackson.
Back in 2014, The Michael Jackson Estate partnered with SONY Mobile. Both had a new product release scheduled for that year. The Michael Jackson Estate released a new posthumous album called XSCAPE and Sony Mobile released the Xperia Z phone.
In August 2013, there was an unauthorised leak of a new Michael Jackson song called Slave To The Rhythm.
This very quickly removed from circulation and the MJONLINE team sent out the following email.
In 2014 the GSMA Mobile World Congress was held in Barcelona from 24 to 27 February.This is the main trade-show of the mobile phone industry, where all the major mobile phone company’s launch their new products. On Sunday 23 February the Michael Jackson fan-clubs received the following email.
On Monday 24 February at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Sony Mobile officially announced the partnership and that a new Michael Jackson song would be used in the promotion for the Xperia Z phone. This was part of the “One Sony “collaboration which Kunimasa Suzuki, President and CEO of Sony Mobile Communications explained was about about bringing the best Sony technology and content together, and taking it further to create absolutely unprecedented, evocative and unique user experiences. He also spoke about the integrated global marketing campaign for the new Sony Xperia mobile phone. The campaign is centered upon a 90 second brand film, depicting a day in the life of French dancer & choreographer Jeremié Bélingard, using the music of Michael Jackson.
The announcement was posted on the Official Michael Jackson Sony Music website http://www.michaeljackson.com/us/news/estate-michael-jackson-enters-partnership-sony-mobile and the video was uploaded to official Sony Xperia YouTube Channel
After the announcement the Michael Jackson fan community went crazy, everyone was so excited about the new music and the first official hint of a new album.
The media and fan community speculation went crazy, the media even going as far as suggesting that the album would ONLY be released through the Sony Xperia phone. Again the MJONLINE team were very quick to communicate with the Michael Jackson fan community and denied this story.
At the end of March we received another email from the MJONLINE Team, telling us to prepare for another announcement.
Later that day the full press release about the new album was released.
The announcement was posted on the Official Michael Jackson Sony Music website http://www.michaeljackson.com/us/news/xscape-new-album-coming-may-13th Details about the new album were also announced,
A teaser video was uploaded to the Official Michael Jackson YouTube channel
As part of the partnership, Sony Xperia users would be able to receive a free copy of the new album on day of its digital release, through the Xperia™ Lounge app.
On 23 April the official track listing for the new Michael Jackson album was released on http://www.michaeljackson.com/us/news/xscape-standard-version-tracklist-revealed
Slave To The Rhythm, the song being used to promote the Sony Xperia phone was song number five on the new album.
As the album release date came closer, the MJONLINE team continued to communicate with the fanclubs sending this email on 2 May. The fanclubs were also given access to the official images and graphics for the new album.
On 2 May TV promotion of the new album started
As part of the pre-release promotion, Sony Music released a series of YouTube videos called The Collaborators Series. https://www.youtube.com/user/michaeljacksonVEVO/videos These videos gave a behind the scenes look at the new Michael Jackson album. On 5 May background information about Slave To The Rhythm was released http://www.michaeljackson.com/us/news/behind-xscape-slave-rhythm
On the same day, the song was featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, a high profile chat show in America.
Finally on 13 May 2014, the album XSCAPE was released. http://www.michaeljackson.com/us/news/todays-day-xscape
Owners of Sony Xperia phones could download the album for free and stream it using Sony Musics Unlimited service. The promotion was available until the end of May 2014 and the download had to be redeemed by the end of June 2014.