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Justin Bieber leans on Lyft to catapult album to top of charts

Justin Bieber hopes to secure his new album’s place at the top of the music charts by teaming up with ridesharing application Lyft, offering a $5 credit to users who purchase his album for $5 during their ride.

Lyft customers will be able to put the app into “Bieber Mode” from now through November 19, a move which will enable them to purchase Justin Bieber’s new album Purpose for a discounted fee of $5. Each user who downloads the digital version will also receive a $5 credit to save toward his or her next Lyft ride, a promotion sweetened even more by Mr. Bieber’s surprise appearances in random Lyft vehicles this past weekend.

“Music has always been an important part of Lyft’s culture,” said Paige Thelen, communications manager at Lyft, New York. “Purpose is one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year on which Justin partnered with many of today’s top artists and producers.”

Music-geared mobile marketing
As Mr. Bieber gears up to battle with British group One Direction for the number one spot on music charts, he is ensuring that he maintains the upper hand when it comes to mobile. Lyft riders are able to switch the ridesharing app into “Bieber Mode” if they would like to purchase a digital copy of his fourth studio album, Purpose.

Users will then receive an in-app download link, which they can click on to complete the transaction. The Lyft discount enables them to receive Purpose for $5, significantly less than the retail price on iTunes.

These downloads will count toward Mr. Bieber’s position on the music charts.

Additionally, consumers will be thanked for their purchases in the form of a $5 Lyft credit that can be applied toward their next ride.

This strategy will likely appeal to many consumers who frequent ridesharing apps and experience long commutes. They can download a slew of new upbeat songs to listen to during their rides, and effectively receive that money back in the form of a discount for the next ride.

To sweeten the promotion even more, Mr. Bieber teased his Twitter fans this past weekend by revealing that he would make surprise appearances in Lyft vehicles in the tri-state area.

He also posted a YouTube video of himself shocking several riders by turning around in the passenger seat and greeting them. Consequently, Lyft may have experienced an uptick in rides requested this weekend, especially from fans of Mr. Bieber, hoping to catch him in their vehicle.

Leveraging digital star power
Mr. Bieber has previously ensured that his music maintains a strong presence on digital avenues. As much of his core fan base consists of millennials and younger consumers, tapping into mobile and social media is an imperative strategy for the twenty-one-year-old singer.

Earlier this year, he targeted several random followers on Twitter and direct messaged them lyrics to his latest hit single, “What Do You Mean.” The tactic garnered him significant buzz on the social network and contributed to the song going viral.

Def Jam Recordings is also spinning mobile marketing with a traditional twist, plugging the Purpose album through a hotline number that enables fans to hear Mr. Bieber’s remix of Drake’s popular song Hotline Bling on their smartphones (see story).

Ultimately, the collaboration with Lyft is a strategic, clever move on both their parts.

“We’re excited to be a part of it,” Lyft’s Ms. Thelen said.

Final Take
Alex Samuely, staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York