Top money-saving deals for music lovers
If free downloads and early access to tickets is music to your ears, read on.
Whether you like a bit of Abba, JLS or something a little more classical, music lovers tend to be passionate about their favourite singers, bands and composers.
Perhaps you want to get your hands on the latest releases as soon as they hit the shops -- or increasingly the internet -- or maybe you prefer the excitement and buzz of watching a band perform live.
Whatever you are into, financial providers have been listening and devising products that come with music-related perks to make you prick up your ears.
Some offer discounts on CD and MP3 purchases, others give you early access to tickets before they go on sale to the general public, but all are intended to hit the right note with those who love to listen to music.
So what's on offer?
Top of the pops
It's the credit card providers that have really cottoned on to the music market as they know the more 'added value' your card gives you the more likely you are to be loyal. And loyal customers tend to be profitable ones.
There's a wealth of discounts and reward schemes associated with the hundreds of cards on the market and many offer discounts in high street music stores or online. But here are some of the best deals:
Egg Money World MasterCard offers all customers gig protection to cover your ticket cost if you are unable to attend. It covers any event tickets over £20 booked through Egg Money and there is a limit of £100-worth of cover per cardholder per event.
You are insured for an unlimited number of events across the world and can make a maximum of four claims a year. Even better, there is no excess, so you can get back the full ticket price.
And music lovers get even more with Egg as the provider has teamed up with music website CD WOW to offer a 50p discount on every CD ordered, and a £1 discount on every DVD.
If you prefer to download your music you can get 10% off MP3 download purchases made with your Egg card from 7digital.com, which has over four million tracks compatible with iPods, iPhones, Sony Walkmans, and other MP3 players.
Barclaycard has launched a dedicated website for music fans -- barclaycardunwind.com -- designed to help its customers get access to top tickets for music concerts across the country.
The company has teamed up with the UK's top music promoters to secure deals, and it can put tickets on a seven day hold exclusively for Barclaycard users - so you never have to miss out on tickets again.
Since many popular events sell out on the first day of going on sale this gives customers the chance to get hold of precious tickets a week before they are released to the general public. You also get access to some of the best seats in the house, plus Barclaycard VIP upgrades on some tickets.
What's more, if you are the holder of a Barclaycard Platinum, Platinum Cashback, OnePulse, Goldfish or i24 Card then you are eligible to use the Barclaycard Unwind Lounges based at Wembley Arena, Sheffield Arena, Cardiff International Arena, Manchester Apollo and Southampton Guildhall where you'll be able to relax and get refreshments.
On the other hand, if you own an American Express card, such as the American Express Platinum Cashback card, you'll also get access to pre-sale tickets to music concerts and events, and you can get preferred seating, meaning you get the best view of your favourite band.
Finally, the NatWest student credit card gives you 15% of iPods and accessories at iWorld.co.uk.
Not far behind credit card companies, mobile phone providers are getting smart when it comes to offering musical treats to customers. After all, phones are increasingly used as portable music players and the companies know the value of making customers feel part of an exclusive club.
To this end, those who have a mobile phone deal with O2 can now get priority access to a wide range of tickets for concerts up and down the country. This includes exclusive access to tickets for shows at the London O2 arena, 48 hours before they go on general release, as well as tickets to the O2 Academy in Birmingham, Islington, Bournemouth, Newcastle, Bristol, Liverpool, Leeds, Brixton and Glasgow, as well as Cardiff International Arena, Shepherd's Bush Empire and Hammersmith Apollo -- to name a few!
In other words wherever you live you are probably not far away from an O2 venue, so the chance to get exclusive tickets in advance of the general sale is a great perk.
If you have an Orange Pay As You Go Monkey package you can benefit from 300 minutes of free music a month as long as you top up at least £10 a month. Plus you can listen for free from any mobile -- not just 3G and you don't need a wireless internet connection to do so. Orange also sends out exclusive music such as special recordings and pre-released tracks.
Nokia's Comes with Music service works like a normal mobile phone tariff with brilliant musical extras. For example, the cheapest deal for the Nokia 5800 phone with Comes with Music costs from £20 a month, and includes 300 texts and 200 free minutes. The service is also available on the N96, N95 8GB and 5310.
But on top of that, you get unlimited downloads as part of your mobile phone deal and you have access to six million tracks on the Nokia Music Store -- the firm has signed up most of the major record labels and is adding more by the month. So you get all the music you want, for absolutely nothing.
Banking that boogies
Most standard current accounts don't come with added bells and whistles. But if you upgrade to a packaged account where you pay a monthly fee you get a whole host of perks -- some of which are entertainment and music related. These benefits may appeal to you, but remember they are not usually a reason in themselves to pay for your banking, as John Fitzsimons explains in Don't pay a packet for a packaged current account.
Those customers of NatWest with an Advantage Blue Account -- at £6.95 a month -- get all sorts of perks from mobile phone insurance to single trip travel insurance and 2 for 1 cinema tickets. But music fans will be particularly pleased to hear that they are also entitled to 25% cashback on top gigs and live shows. If you go to a lot of concerts this could represent a big saving, possibly even covering the monthly account fee.
Other packaged current accounts offer ad hoc discounts on gigs, events and concerts throughout the year, which all customers will be made aware of in regular magazines or emails.
Whatever you like to listen to, you could find a great financial deal that saves you money and helps you get to great gigs. Just remember that an added benefit should be just that -- it should never be the main reason you take out any financial product or service.
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