Verizon's teaser at Grammys disappoints, otherwise the tech-music connections scored

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Lil Yachty wearing virtual-reality glasses in the "It Takes Two" song and spiel that spiced up a Target commercial during Sunday's Grammy Awards show on CBS.

That dramatic Verizon teaser advertisement shown Sunday night during the Grammy Awards turned out to be less than breathtaking come Monday morning. Otherwise, the night’s neat mix of music and tech put gizmo lovers in seventh heaven.

Verizon’s commercial dramatically touted: “Starting tomorrow, unlimited gets the network it deserves. And so do you.”

But pricing posted Monday morning hardly harks back to 2011, when Verizon last included unlimited data as part of its standard service plans. The mobile phone giant stopped offering unlimited data in 2012 to new subscribers — and started tacking on hefty data surcharges —  after determining that the “tail” of data streaming, including high-density video and music entertainment, was wagging the mobile dog, monopolizing phone use and system capacity.

At $80 a month for one phone, Verizon’s new unlimited plan will cost consumers $20 more than Sprint’s current all-you-can-use version. That’s also a big bump-up from T-Mobile’s unlimited offering when factoring in that the latter’s bottom-line price of $70 includes taxes and fees billed separately by other competitors.

AT&T now needs to adjust its fees to stay competitive. AT&T currently offers a single phone subscription with unlimited data priced at $100, and that’s strictly to customers who also sign up for DirecTV service, also owned by AT&T.  The company’s current, unlimited four-phone family plan, priced at $180, is competitive with Verizon’s identically priced new offering, if you’re also a willing DirecTV customer. Sprint and T-Mobile currently price four-phone family deals with unlimited data at $160, putting the latter at a significant savings advantage given its “sweetener” of taxes-and-fees-included.

Otherwise, how did you like the gizmo’d up Grammys, Mrs. Lincoln?

Camera icon MATT SAYLES / Invision via AP
Chance The Rapper accepts the award for best new artist at the 59th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles.

Very well. For the first time ever, an artist — Chance the Rapper — won Grammy recognition (and three times!) for an album available only in digital-streaming form. Coloring Book is not to be found in CD or even in paid-download forms. The radical change in the voting rules at the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences acknowledges that free and pay-subscription music streaming services such as Soundcloud, Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, Napster, Deezer, Tidal, and Amazon Prime/Unlimited Music are now the industry’s major taste and money makers. Also that the Chicago-based socially and spiritually embracing rapper Chancellor Johnathan Bennett is the real deal, and could not be snubbed as the year’s best new artist.

 Tech also monopolized the conversation as Katy Perry’s stylish show number “Chained to the Rhythm” worked the same kind of projection mapping that will be deployed in the new Cirque du Soleil and last Ringling Brothers circus shows hitting the Wells Fargo Center soon.

Camera icon ROBERT GAUTHIER / Los Angeles Times
Katy Perry and Skip Marley performing during the 59th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday.

For his contribution, awards show host James Corden comically encouraged users to contribute comments by Twitter. The banner of Fake News feedback then running across the screen showed only one positive remark — from the @realDonaldTrump.  

Aping the SXSW music festival that’s largely been taken over by tech sponsors, other show advertisers also made a pointed connection.

Apple ran its giddy AirPod spot scored by Philly duo Marian Hill, which is a bit of a teaser, because the new wireless AirPod headphones are rarely spotted in stores, selling out in a few hours, and online, the item is back-ordered for six weeks.

Target put virtual-reality glasses and drones front and center in its three-minute song and dance-shopping spot, “It Takes Two,” pumped up by Carly Rae Jepsen and Lil Yachty plus a corps of movers and shakers working moves like a classic Busby Berkeley flick.

A millennials-geared “Ford Go Further” spot underscored how the car maker is gearing up for “mobility services” of the near future — with an electric-assist bike (already finding use in Britain), self-parking technology, car sharing, and self-driving rides.

Multiroom streaming music pioneer Sonos used the Grammys, and looming Valentine's Day, to introduce its “Wake Up the Silent Home” campaign. Spinning off fresh consumer research, the spot pushes the point that a house humming with music is a happier place, bringing inhabitants together more often for meals and enlivening the bedroom scene for grown-ups, nudge-nudge, wink-wink.