Hip-hop star T-Pain's personal brand is based on his signature synthetic, modulated sound. It's the product of his unique use of the Auto-Tune audio processing technology developed by a company called Antares Audio Technologies.

The sound has earned T-Pain fame and fortune and Auto-Tune is now a prominent fixture in today's hip-hop music. It's also currently a prominent fixture in Apple's App Store thanks to T-Pain's new I Am T-Pain iPhone app.

As you might guess, I Am T-Pain puts Auto-Tune processing in the hands of iPhone owners. Just run the app, speak into your iPhone and before you know it, you are T-Pain.

Released less than a week ago, I Am T-Pain is currently the number two paid app in the App Store. At $2.99 a pop, T-Pain, app creator Smule and Antares Audio Technologies are off to a good start in the quest for a summer home. And thanks to in-app sales of additional T-Pain tracks that users can enjoy karaoke-style, it seems possible that the app could generate even more revenue from music sales.

For brands and celebrities looking to make a splash with iPhone apps, I Am T-Pain is a great case study:

  • The app is perfectly aligned with T-Pain's 'brand'. T-Pain didn't just slap his name on an app; he developed a thoughtful, clever app that allows fans to get closer to his music. Far too many branded apps lack thoughtful brand integration.
  • The price is right: at $2.99, you don't need to be a major recording artist to afford the app. In some cases, 'branded app' seems to serve as an excuse for creating an 'overpriced app'.
  • Additional value is offered to users through the integration of in-app music sales.
  • The app incorporates viral characteristics. While there's no doubt that promotion of the app on the part of T-Pain and other popular hip-hop figures has propelled I Am T-Pain to the top of the App Store charts, the app's integration of social media is killer: it's possible to record your Auto-Tune creations and share them via Facebook, MySpace and email. And Smule is going to be featuring the best I Am T-Pain creations too.

In short, I Am T-Pain is, in my opinion, one of the best-executed branded apps. But it's even more than that. It's a reminder that companies and celebrities can benefit from trusting consumers with their brands. T-Pain's willingness to put his signature sound in the hands of his fans and to celebrate what they can create is clearly only boosting the T-Pain brand.

For brands and celebrities looking for the bling bling, that's worth remembering.

Patricio Robles

Published 9 September, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (1)

zac craven

zac craven, IT consultant at Zac Craven Ltd

Its a shame the technology wasnt around when the Spice Girls were here. 

Spice Girls iPhone App - Features

  • Automatically change your voice to sound like your favorite spice!
  • Select from choice of 4 accents (scouse, cockney, leeds, posh)
  • The app will automatically and randomly each note you sing half a note, to create that unique dischordance

almost 9 years ago

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