Akon bets on mobile app to reach int’l fans

The R&B artist has partnered with Montreal-based Pente Mobile to develop branded mobile apps with content integration opps.

He’s ubiquitous on the radio and MTV, and now Akon is getting into the mobile game via a new partnership with Montreal-based Pente Mobile. Announced this week, the deal inked between R&B artist Akon and Pente Mobile, a division of Pente Group, will enable the development of a series of Akon-branded apps, the first of which will debut in tandem with a new Akon album in 2010. Forbes magazine reports the singer has sold 9 million records worldwide, in addition to logging 160 appearances on other artists’ records, and ranked the singer #4 on the mag’s most recent list of ‘Hip Hop Cash Kings.’

Targeted at Akon fans internationally, the first app will be a ‘Texas Hold ‘em’-style interactive poker game called ‘Akon’s Poker Face.’ It will initially be released for the iPhone, with other platforms to follow. Content integration opportunities in the game include branding of the poker table, clothing and accessories of the players and the casino background, three- to five-second pre-game interstitial ad units for game sponsors and more in the works.

Akon’s likeness will be ‘at the helm’ of the game, the release announcing the partnership states, and it will feature Akon-branded currency that users can exchange for products and rewards. Information such as tour and album release dates, will also be built into the app’s functionality.

‘The goal behind creating mobile applications for Akon is to further broaden his digital footprint and connect with his fans in a unique and engaging way,’ Brendan Dunn, CEO of Pente Mobile, tells MiC. ‘The applications also give Akon the ability to grow and retain his fanbase while creating another distribution channel for all things Akon-related.’

The app will be distributed via Akon’s website, social media platforms and direct to audiences at Akon shows.