BASKING RIDGE, NJ and LOS ANGELES, CA — Verizon Wireless, Sony BMG and John Legend announced today a music industry first with the launch of a nationwide "Verizon Wireless Music Mogul" contest* to let fans play a coveted role in how Grammy Award® winning artist, John Legend's new music is released to the world by selecting the next single from his new album Once Again. The contest begins today and runs through October 13, 2006. The Grand Prize winner will represent Verizon Wireless' John Legend fans nationwide by taping a voice recorded introduction to the single that will be aired on radio stations as the song makes its debut across the country. The winner will also join the artist at a premier performance in Europe.
To participate, fans with select phones can send the text message "LEGEND" to 2227 to receive a multimedia message with audio samples of John Legend's new unreleased songs "Show Me," a spiritual love song reminiscent of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye and "Heaven Only Knows," the Kanye West produced song that deals with the ups and downs of relationships. Fans will then vote via text messaging which song they think should be the next released single. Verizon Wireless message charges apply. Fans may also vote online for free at www.johnlegendconcerts.com.
Verizon Wireless V CAST Music will feature several of John Legend's new songs as exclusive offers for customers to download as full length songs, ring tones and Ringback Tones for the next two months. John Legend's new album, Once Again, will not hit Web music retailers and retail stores until October 24, so the only place to hear or view John Legend's new music is through Verizon Wireless.
"I've been on the road a lot in the past couple years, and I've had the chance to meet and interact with a lot of my fans. I make my music for my fans, and this contest is all about getting their feedback and understanding what they'd like to hear from my new album," said John Legend. "So now, not only do my fans get to hear my new music early, but I get to find out what they think which is the kind of instant interaction you can get through mobile technology."
"In conjunction with our partnership with Verizon Wireless and John Legend, this contest allows Sony to express our respect for consumers' judgment and taste," said Lisa Ellis, president of Sony Urban Music. "We think mobile is a perfect medium through which to take the guess work out and just ask fans directly what music they prefer and have that direct the single we put out next."
"Mobile phones provide such a unique opportunity for fans to not just react to music but interact," said John Harrobin, vice president of digital media and marketing for Verizon Wireless. "In this era of personalization, fans want to not just be passive listeners, but to participate and interact with their favorite artists."
John Legend's 2004 debut album, Get Lifted, earned him eight 2005 Grammy nominations and three wins, including Best New Artist. In 2003 Legend became the first artist signed to Kanye West's Kon Man Entertainment (later renamed Getting Out Our Dreams), and a deal with Columbia Records followed in May 2004.
Even more so than he did on Get Lifted, John went boldly in his own creative direction on Once Again, opting to write not from a marketing standpoint, but from his heart and soul and personal experience. Once Again will be released from G.O.O.D./Sony Urban Music/ Columbia Records on October 24, 2006.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 54.8 million voice and data customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.
* No purchase necessary. Must be 13 years or older and legal U.S. resident. Void outside the U.S. and where prohibited. Verizon Wireless message charges apply. Restrictions apply. Please see official rules at http://www.johnlegendconcerts.com.