5 Brands Playing DJ on Music Streaming Services – John McDermott of Digiday looks at brands that are communicating through playlists.
Brands as DJs. Its nothing new.
Retailers have been doing it for ages but music streaming services now make it possible for any brand to quickly and easily create a mini radio station, now have a new way to serenade us. These nice, shiny streaming services have opened up a huge opportunity for brands to use our beloved music as a constantly evolving communications tool.
So while mobile phone networks are busy adding music streaming services to make their contracts more enticing, other brands are using them to educate and enrich our lives through playlists. We looked at this a few weeks back with Spotify’s plans to woo brands and now this article on Digiday looks at some of the US brands that have been playing DJ for their consumers and the ways streaming services are selling their platforms to brands.
Brands must realise they should use these new musical powers responsibly, because with great power comes blah blah blah. The article quotes Ari Weiss, executive creative director at BBH: “I’ve never listened to branded Pandora stations. I love Pandora, but I’m not in the mindset that I want a branded radio station.” I can hear where Ari is coming from, I too have never listened to a branded station on Pandora (that might have something to do with the fact that the service is blocked in the UK, but let’s pretend). Why would you? Pandora creates evolving playlists based on your listening habits, it’s really easy to use and so why would go rogue on your listening tastes and allow some brand to invade your music space. Pandora’s problem is that it is just too good at what it does and this suggests that as a brand you may want your music streaming partner to be a little bit basic so that you can actually add value to it.
Also quoted in the article is David Berkowitz, CMO at agency MRY: “Brands realize they need to be part of the signal, not part of the noise. Music is one of the things people are most passionate about. Brands would love to have some of that love rub off on them.” This highlights another problem. Too many brands get a little over-excited about getting involved in this latest, wacky craze of music and believe that having some sort of “signal” is better than having none. In the end most of them simply end up creating noise. David is spot on that people are passionate about music and so brands must be careful about how they deals with a consumer’s music experience. Mess up the thing people love so much and the only achievement a brand will have is getting themselves shown the door.
So what is the right way to do a branded playlist:
- Start from the basic understanding that consumers already invest heavily in their music experiences on many levels;
- Work out how the brand and its values could enhance these experiences, you may want to bring in some help at this point;
- Make sure you are providing something unique, “me too” stuff will be ignored;
- Make it easy to access, it is fine to make people do a little work to earn good content but require too much effort and they’ll easily find other good stuff to listen to.
We could go on about this all day but I think that should be a good place to start. Read the article in Digiday by John McDermott.
One last thing, please can we start calling them mixtapes rather than playlists, it sounds nicer and suggests a little bit more effort than ticking a few boxes.