By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: A pre-existing sponsorship agreement has enabled Motorola to exploit the success of Australian musicians to promote its new ROKR E8 phone as well as its new music site, MotoMusic.

Motorola is using its longstanding ties to the Australian music industry to promote its new range of ROKR mobile phones through its newly-launched online music hub, MotoMusic.

Boasting a range of exclusive content, MotoMusic is an umbrella innovation designed to lead consumers away from the plethora of other mobile phone/music partnerships — and at its heart is the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).

Speaking about the new project, Motorola’s national marketing manager, Stephen Amiet, was naturally enthusiastic.

“It’s music-centric and there has been no compromise on design,” he said. “[It has] exclusive ringtones, wallpapers, behind the scenes footage and remixes.”

ARIA CEO Stephen Peach talked up his company’s association.

“Our relationship is built on a real partnership — we don’t just take their money,” Peach said.

When asked to explain just how exclusive Motorola’s content was, Amiet referred to their sponsorship deal with ARIA, citing that their affiliation enables them to use content which is otherwise restricted to their competitors.

ARIA produces the official sales data for the Australian music industry, so major record labels are virtually obliged to work closely with them. Motorola is able to exploit this to deliver at least some genuinely exclusive content, although most other features are generally available if you’re prepared to pay for it.

The centerpiece of MotoMusic is their Artist of the Month feature. A record label wanting to push their new artist will work with Motorola to generate publicity in order to drive CD sales.

The Artist of the Month, currently Gabriella Cilmi, then provides Motorola, the sole corporate sponsor, with some personalised product to help payback their sponsorship premium.

It’s a friendly arrangement, but not a profitable one.

“This is not a moneymaking exercise, it’s about exploring our relationship with ARIA,” said Amiet.

The goal, therefore, is to promote the music side of Motorola’s mobile phone business in order to encourage sales of their new handset.

Branded the ROKR E8, the phone is specifically designed to interact with ARIA content, so much so that it even features a ‘virtual key’ that connects users directly to this content.

Motorola experienced great success with its clamshell phones, but this style is unfashionable today, with youths flocking to slide- and twist-style handsets. With mobile phones being used more for music and less for conversations, Motorola is hoping that this ARIA link will be sufficient enough to divert attention away from their already established competitors.

The Motorola MOTOROKR E8 is set to be locally released in July 2008.