Thanks to Foursquare the reward badge – once resigned to likes of Cub Scouts and children who behaved well at the dentist - has become something of a social phenomenon. Not to mention a profitable new business model.
Just yesterday a little known start up called Badgeville managed to net $2.5M from Felix Investments, and a selection of senior executives from eBay to Warner Music, in order to spread the reward badge concept across the web via its white label platform. Its main rival, Bigdoor, also scooped $5.47M last month to do something similar.
However, as the virtual desire for badges grows, so does the more tactile physical presence of badges outside the web.
Playbutton is a wearable MP3 album located within a simple pin button badge. The device uses a rechargeable lithium battery and offers full playback and skip functionality on the reverse of the tiny device. “Why just play a record when you can wear it too?” say the people behind the concept.
Like normal badges the outside can be customised to correspond directly with what is contained within, be it album art or a more direct type of messaging (brand logos for example)
The content contained within a Playbutton is pre-recorded and cannot be altered or downloaded; ensuring that any essential message aligned with the music is permanently attached to the product. Just like the good old days when people bought CDs.
Yes, its not exactly reinventing the wheel , but its a cute idea, and with the boom badge market this could open up a new model for music marketing as well as a novel way of distributing branded content.