Bob Dylan App Unlocks 'Tempest' Downloads for Free in Key Locations

Meaningful locales from the artist's past

When I say "geolocation," which legendary musician immediately springs to mind? Bob Dylan, of course! Well, he should, now that he's teamed up with creative agency CNNCTD+ to promote his new album, Tempest, through the Sound Graffiti iPhone app. The app lets fans unlock songs from the record for free at specific global locations tagged with art from the album. Most of the locales hold some significance in Dylan's life and career. They include places where he broke into the folk scene, where he first played electric guitar on stage, and the exact spot where his music began to suck. Kidding, of course, about that last one. It's impossible to pinpoint where that happened. Seriously, the road-trip approach seems like a huge commitment for all but the man's most ardent admirers. Wouldn't they just shell out the $10 on iTunes or Amazon?
     Still, the app—the latest in a string of unusual music-marketing gambits, Fort Atlantic's Nintendo cartridges and Jack White's helium balloons—has generated extra media coverage for Tempest, and CNNCTD+ creative director Roman Grandinetti believes the approach could catch on. "I think listening and being able to download music this way gives it a feeling," he says. "It takes that song to a whole other level. I don't expect the whole world to do this, but real fans will make an effort to be that much closer to the artist."
     It would've been a fitting touch if downloads were enabled at various points on Highway 61. They're not. Maybe next time—if the app idea is revisited.