I’ve got through January and I feel I avoided BIG DATA as much as possible. Now that February has arrived I think I can be allowed one mention of the BIG D. I am no fan of the marketing concept that is BIG D, for me just having loads of data is fairly useless. Data is an ingredient we need to create insight, what I would like to see more of is BIG INSIGHT. So I was very interested to see that GROUP M Entertainment, Sports and Promotion employed GROUP M NEXT to provide GROUP M with some proprietary insight on how people really quite like music, GROUP M, sorry I think I’ve developed a tick.
So the insight has been delivered in the form of a report called The New Music Model for Brands: How Live Events and Digital are Changing the Sound of Things. I’ll summarise it, people like music, they listen to it loads and they like brands when they help them listen to it. OK it’s a lot deeper than than but I think it is better if you read the report itself, its good stuff. If you don’t have the time just yell out “People like music, GROUP M says so” when you are stuck for something to say in a meeting.
The dream of any music agency is to become the single supplier of a massive conglomerate and today Big Sync Music announced they are in dreamland by becoming the exclusive supplier of music services to Unilever.
It is a big step for Unilever, a massive opportunity for Big Sync and a huge challenge for both as of them as they try to herd all their marketing agencies through a single music channel. But as long as the agencies play nicely then Unilever will now be in a position to implement effective sonic branding strategy across countries, territories and the world. It is a bold move for Unilever to commit to a single supplier but a sensible one as they now have the capability to create consistent and efficient identities for their brands and develop music strategies that are global marketing campaigns in their own right.
Exciting and exhausting times ahead for Big Sync Music. Now please wash your hands.
Here is the full story in Music Week.
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.
It is officially Autumn and what better way to fill the long evenings than with Billboard’s 2014 Music and Brand Roundtable. This year we have some serious people from the various corners of music and brand, and Lars Ulrich. Its not exactly chock full of drama or laughs, at times its feels like a negotiation, but as a resource on music and brand its worth your time.
I’m not sure choosing one of the biggest music stars in the world provides much insight. Mr Ulrich points out that brands come to him so his view of the music and brand relationship is fairly traditional. I think it would have been more interesting had they got a new artist with more of a need for brand relationships as they look to build a career. But then I guess if someone offers you Lars Ulrich you don’t turn them down.
The person you have to listen to is Steve Pamon of Chase. He explains so many of the issues that brands have when trying to work with music artists. His basic issue is the music business’ failure to act like a business. He does throw music a bone by pointing out its emotional impact on an audience and how valuable this is to a brand.
Listen also to Jennifer Frommer from SFX as she quickly points out the value of content. Rather than simply talking about putting a brand next to an artist she explains the importance of providing platforms and a variety of content that an audience will want.
There is no point in me describing the whole chat, I simply recommend that rather than watching X Factor you check out the films. The mix of people is good and the conversation, while not ground-breaking, is certainly worth some of your time.
My favourite quote is:
Lars Ulrich – “I think U2 are the coolest”.
Always leave them laughing.
Some of you, in the UK at least, may have heard the news that the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is going to take a long hard look at some Miley Cyrus videos and maybe think about introducing age classifications for music videos. Beware, the Daily Mail love this idea which normally means it is some reactionary rubbish that we should all ignore. However, I think brands should take a good look at this and see how they can become involved.
The impact of such classifications would probably be negligible on the consumption of music videos as the majority are now watched on YouTube which will not be required to take any action as the BBFC has no jurisdiction over online channels. However, the impact for brands will be more significant. Brands are increasingly involved in promotional videos through music partnerships and product placement with their gratuitous appearance often requiring a major contribution to the production costs. Therefore brands will need to start paying more attention to the content of such videos as regardless of how they are consumed they will come with an official age classification. Brands may well have to exercise greater editorial control over their music partners’ videos to ensure that they do not contain images or references that would be considered inappropriate for their consumers and this could in turn lead to “beige-ification” of music videos.
Or maybe not. You see brands can now cast themselves as guardians of their consumers minds or protectors of their music partners’ creativity. They can extend their role as curators and whoever they decide to side with they will be able to enhance their relationship with their consumers. The key to all of this is in the planning. Brands will need to ensure that they choose the right artists for their values and audience, they build true partnerships and if all else fails their contracting will allow them to walk away without causing a backlash.
So is the involvement of the BBFC welcome? I’m not sure but I do know that with the UK government trying to gain public support and the BBFC’s big survey showing consumers want more regulation of music videos it is probably a good idea for brands to think about it now rather than later. Censorship is back on the agenda in the week we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Mike Read’s ridiculous on-air censorship of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Relax on Radio 1, nothing changes.
The moral of the story is that if brands want to get involved in music they really need a music agency. This is after all the year of the music agency.
Its been another busy week in the music streaming world. Musicians have once again been moaning about how they earn nothing from streaming and Spotify has responded with the launch of Spotify Artists, a new service that allows musicians to see how little they are earning on a nice graph with full analytics of the audience that is not making them any money.
The latest news is that we all need to make a little bit more space on our iPhone screens for another streaming service. We’ve known it was coming for a while but Ian Rogers, CEO, has announced that the new Beats music streaming service, Beats Music (it does what it says on the tin) will be arriving in the US very soon, probably January.
The only reason it’s worth talking about another streaming service is that this one will get to enjoy the full Beats marketing experience. Dr Dre’s massively successful brand has been the poster child for celebrity brand partnerships for a few years now. Their use of sports and music stars has made Beats big cans a must for anyone who wants to tell the world they are listening to something better and has made headphone deals the top of most artists’ riders.
The other thing worth noting about the launch is that Beats Music will go to market with a mobile partner in place on day one. AT&T already has a relationship with Beats Electronics and it looks like they will be trying out a threesome by inviting Beats Music to join in. Details of the partnership have not been announced yet but it looks like the trend for music streaming services dating mobile networks is going to continue for a while.
I’ve got high hopes for the launch campaign but of course I won’t get to actually use the service for a while. In the meantime if you are in the US you can head to their websiteand register all your details.
As if our lives aren’t dominated by brands enough Spotify is going to let them playlist them too. I love this kind of thing but only if it is done properly, we’ll overlook the fact that its simply a way of selling ad inventory for the next 5 minutes. This is what audio branding is all about but I’m going to give a word of warning – Don’t just create playlists of what the office likes.
Brand owners if you take a lazy approach to this opportunity from Spotify you’ll be wasting your marketing budget and you’ll end up with whatever the team have been listening to on their iPods that morning or maybe the track that was playing in the club when they got lucky at the weekend. Simple audio branding strategy will ensure that you work out the brand’s musical tastes, what the brand would listen to and where this crosses over with the target audience’s tastes. Make sure you invest some time and possibly money into finding the right tracks and creating something that is on-brand rather than on Radio 1. Its probably a good idea to bring in some help and there are plenty of really good audio branding consultants out there who can help you out.
Here is the announcement in today’s Marketing Week.
End of the sermon. I’m so looking forward to finding out what Anusol would listen to at the weekends.