Why didn't anybody think of this before? Grand Theft Auto franchise developer Rockstar Games has teamed up with Amazon.com in an interesting joint promotion.
When GTA IV comes out on April 29 and you are cruising around inside doing whatever evil deeds come to mind, you might like a particular song playing on one of the radio stations in the game. Well, you will be able dial a number on your in-game virtual cellphone and receive a text message with artist and title information. And if you've signed up to be part of Rockstar's upcoming social network, you'll get a real-world e-mail with a link to buy the song on Amazon.com. All songs are DRM-free MP3s, so you can play them on any device, including your Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3--outside the confines of the game.
Rockstar is curating the 150-plus songs bundled with the game, which will include oddities and a few exclusives, including one number from hip-hop artist Nas. Now imagine if Rockstar used the online capabilities of the game consoles to update the in-game radio playlists silently. That's a new form of music distribution that might actually reach younger listeners.