By Eliot Van Buskirk of Evolver.fm.
One of the most popular locations in any airport, or indeed here at SXSW itself, it the device-charging kiosk. People will contort themselves into uncomfortable positions and cozy up to complete strangers if it means a few more minutes of power for their precious, essential devices.
Unlike what one might call âdumbâ power kiosks, the CoolNerd Kiosk takes advantage of the charging kioskâs allure to deliver music and movies to iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry devices, with all of the proper connectors sitting right there on the kioskâs tray.
Basically, itâs like Redbox, but for for smartphones.
Intriguingly, the thing that people need â electrical power, which takes time to transfer to your deviceâs battery â offers all kinds of opportunities for promoting and selling things. If you need to power up your phone for 15 minutes, thatâs you standing in front of the kioskâs screen for 15 minutes. CoolNerd displays advertisements, and, in Live Nation music venues, occasionally offers free music, paid for by CoolNerd.
If youâre seeing the (wonderful) Neil Young, for instance, CoolNerd might offer you a free album from his back catalog, which it pays for (via Amazon and another unnamed independent distributor), and subsidizes by having you watch ads while your device charges. And if nobodyâs charging, the kiosk displays an ad for whatever band is playing, as well as for other products.
âDepending on the venue, if thereâs a lot of foot traffic, since our kiosk runs ads, the music would be free to the customer, because the ads pay for it,â explained CoolNerd founder Mark Unthank. âThe artist gets paid, but the concert-goer gets the music for free.â
In addition to Live Nation concert venues, CoolNerd is working on airports and grocery stores.