This one has been bubbling under for a while, since Vincent Bolloré, head of the Bolloré family, the largest Havas shareholder, became chairman of Vivendi, owners of Universal, it seemed like a logical move for both businesses. Whether this was all worked out over dinner at Chez Bolloré, Havas’ chairman happens to be Yannick Bolloré, son of Vincent, or through some in-depth analysis of the music and brand market and a realisation that it lacked a super power, I will never know but it is probably the biggest commitment to cooperation we have seen so far.
So what is it all about? On the face of it and if you read the various press releases the whole thing is about data, lots and lots of data, I’m not going to say BIG DATA (doh!) as that is so 2014. They have even managed to sneak the word data into the collaboration’s name – THE GLOBAL MUSIC DATA ALLIANCE – which I think should be shortened to GLOMUDA for no real reason. There is loads of talk about combining all the numbers that both sides gather on their audiences and using them to work out better ways of combining music and brand to everyone’s benefit. At this stage then the focus is very much on building some really enormous databases and working out some spectacularly complicated algorithms to make sense of them. This kind of analysis will help prove the case for music and brand relationships of all shapes and sizes and I guess it will not be too long before GLOMUDA (trademark pending) becomes self-aware and Ed Sheeran is being hunted down by a cyborg from the future.
For music and brand geeks the GLOMUDA is an exciting project between two real powerhouses in their industries with the very highest level of executive backing. Where I think the real potential for this relationship will be is in a year or two’s time, once they have enough data to create accurate insight into music and consumer trends. If they take this insight and use it as a starting point for some outstanding and innovative creative work then Universal and Havas could be building a market leading platform. But it is just the starting point, both sides will also need to invest heavily in creative talent as translating insight into inspiration is the true key to success.
In the past partnerships like this have not worked as one side saw it as a bit of fun while the other considered it a way to get someone else to pay the bill. This partnership, however, could change that simply because of its scale, the board level support should ensure that the Havas agencies function collectively rather than competitively when it comes to music projects while Universal has a pretty progressive view of brand relationships. Plus if all else fails Mrs Bolloré can always step in and sort things out.
So to start 2015 we have a biggie and one that we will need to observe throughout the year, if anything so we can see what impact GLOMUDA has on Music Dealers (Havas) and Globe (Universal).
Here are links to the Havas press release and coverage in AdAge:
UPDATE: Well it didn’t take long for someone to ruin my BIG DATA avoiding 2015. This article on mediajobs.com gives a more cash focused reason for why HAVAS + UNIVERSAL = DATA, DATA = CASH.
You’ve just flown half way across the world for a meeting, jet lag is about to kick in and you can’t decide whether you should eat now or try to get on the local timetable. You know what you need? A gig.
I don’t think that was exactly how the brainstorming session went but that is certainly what is on offer now at Renaissance Hotels following their announcement of a number of music partnerships. First off we have live entertainment mega brand, AEG, who by the sounds of it will be the driving force in this new music adventure. Then sneaking in through the VIP entrance are Universal Music Group and Creative Artists Agency (CAA) to create a team of really big entertainment brands. The purpose of all this is to make Renaissance Hotels the only hotel group offering a “variety of unique activities and platforms”, music ones that is. The plan seems to be a combination of exclusive events for clientele, priority access to AEG events and a bunch of content for the in-room tv channels and various websites. One novel idea is that they are also offering “Meeting Discoveries” which will allow you to follow that six hour management meeting with access to special events.
The reason this partnership has lead me to write is that it is quite a bold move by a hotel chain seeking to gain more corporate business. Traditionally hotels look to sonic branding to create relaxing, comfortable experiences out of alien environments. The traditional use of music is to enhance the physical space with tranquility, cue pan pipes in the toilets and a pianist in reception. So for a brand like Renaissance Hotels to explore the idea of music experimentation is very much away from the norm and it will be interesting to see if the weary business travellers embrace this opportunity to choose a hotel offering live music over one with softer pillows.
The interesting thing here is not the output of the partnership but who is leading it, if Renaissance Hotels make this work it will be fun to see how the competition reacts. Maybe you’ll see Holiday Inns offering a spare TV in every room so you can live like a rockstar and throw one out of the window.
If you want to know more about this partnership you can read all the details here on twst.com (The Wall Street Transcript).
UPDATE: I couldn’t sleep last night as I kept having flashbacks of Universal Music Group doing something hotel-ly recently. Well maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration but this morning I flicked back through my old posts and guess what they have, but with Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. While not exactly the same kind of partnership there are definitely a few similarities such as live events in hotels. The key difference is the audience, Fairmont seem to be targeting people on holiday while Renaissance are after the business market.
In the same way there are supposedly only meant to be 7 story plots there are probably only a limited number of basic music and brand partnerships, the key to making them feel unique is in the implementation and that comes down to how well the brand and the music work together. After all you will never stop music from jumping into bed with somebody else.
Earlier this year we discovered that there just aren’t as many Beliebers in the world as we feared, sampling of his Twitter followers indicated that nearly half of them could be described as “empty” accounts (collective sigh of relief). Well today YouTube made a stand against fake views of music videos by wiping out billions of them.
Ground Report reported that the world’s most popular video sharing site has enforced its terms of service and left the major labels and many of their biggest artists with less views than a bloke in squeezing his blackheads, Universal lost around a billion views while Sony had to give up 850 million. You may think “whatevs” but this actually quite a slap on the wrist for the majors as YouTube views are often seen as an unofficial chart and they have monetary value through the share of advertising revenue.
How long will it be before they announce that Gangnam Style has not actually been viewed over 1.8billion times but has in fact been watched twice.
Hotels have always been a great place to use audio branding. The need to transport guests into the brand are undeniable. Generally hotels have been the home of generic library tracks with the occasional bit of pan pipes and a pianist in the lobby. So it is good news that Fairmont Hotels and Resorts have partnered up with Universal Music to create some more interesting audio environments. With Universal’s expansive library and Fairmont’s impressive property portfolio this should be a good opportunity to create some worthy playlists. Read more about it here.