Motorola Droid Launch Kicked Off with Free Music Concert in NYC

Adrian GrenierIn the ongoing battle for smartphone domination in the US, Apple has faced the launch of several supposed “iPhone killers” out to steal its thunder courtesy of manufacturers like LG, HTC, Palm, and others.  Now Motorola has entered into the fray, pulling out all the stops with its new Android-powered Motorola Droid smartphone and supporting “Droid Does” campaign, designed to highlight features the handset offers which the iPhone 3G S doesn’t.

Not since the debut of the Moto RAZR has the Schaumburg, IL-based company captured the imagination of the American public – or, more specifically, that of the Twitter- and Facebook-savvy Gen Y crowd.  It’s no small feat, considering that this is the generation who grew up with Web 2.0 and accordingly expect the ability to create, edit, share, and modify pictures, music playlists, and mash-ups of their favorite artists on-demand as part of a shared, “always-on” global community.

While President Obama effectively became a media star with his campaign’s use of blogs as an open forum to fuel political debate and engage crowds, the pop culture equivalent of social awareness involves connecting musicians with their fans through electrifying live performances, creating a ripple effect from concert images shared with associates.  In other words, today, sending a video clip from a live music concert is a digital postcard from the edge, saying “this is who I am, what I believe in, and what I think is important to me” – right here, right now. And, of course, can translate into millions of SMS and MMS messages sent around the world, a key way for communications and networking companies to grow.  Motorola and Verizon Wireless attempted to seize the moment recently by channeling the emotional impact of a live music concert for its “Droid Does” launch on Friday, November 6, supported by promotions on its vCast music service, Twitter and other digital platforms.

Live Performances at the Droid Launch Party NYCYou cannot get hipper than a Friday-night event on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.  This is the location where Madonna , Keith Haring, and Jean-Michel Basquiat gained their notoriety amongst a thriving art scene. It was where New Wave artists like Blondie and the Ramones had their humble beginnings at the now-defunct CBGB’s, and where alternative rock bands like Joan Jett, The Killers, The Strokes, and Lady Gaga played the Mercury Lounge. On any given night, you’ll find up-and-coming musicians performing in tiny, crowded, sweaty performance spaces at Pianos, the Living Room, Cake Shop, and Arlene’s Grocery. The concert venue itself chosen for the Droid’s launch, the Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts, was a former Jewish synagogue, and restored church from the 19th century German Reform Movement.  The modern-day center was founded in the early 90’s as an artistic and cultural resource open to artists, writers, thinkers and leaders, and has hosted luminaries such as Philip Glass and Spike Lee, Arthur Miller, Alexander McQueen, Salman Rushdie, and Maya Angelou.

The Motorola/Verizon Wireless Droid launch Red Carpet featured appearances from a wide swath of celebrities including Adrian Grenier from HBO’s Entourage, Kim Delaney from ABC’s Desperate Housewives, Katrina Bowden from NBC’s 30 Rock, Ian Somerhalder from CW’s The Vampire Diaries, and model-turned-R&B pop singer Eric West (a nephew of Smokey Robinson, who has performed with the Black Eyed Peas member, Fergie).  The highlight of the evening was the live performance by indie rock band, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, featuring lead singer Karen O, drummer Brian Chase, and guitarist Nick Zinner, who gained fame supporting acts like The Strokes and The White Stripes with their avant-punk sound, based on art college bands from their roots at Oberlin College in Ohio. The band’s song “Maps” is a playable track in the music video game Rock Band, their song “Zero” was also used in the first trailer of Tony Hawk: Ride at the Microsoft E3 Gaming Press conference, and their song “Heads Will Roll” was featured in TV commercials for MTV’s The Hills, which aired during the 2009 Video Music Awards.

Check out our photos from the Motorola Droid launch party to see the action for yourself.

All Photo credits: Tyler Weggel for Alerot News Service