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.
You remember that massive internet brand, Yahoo. The one with the fun sonic logo. Well they’ve recently been working on getting better at what they do and working out what it is that they do. As part of this today they announced a partnership with Live Nation to create the Live Nation Channel on Yahoo Screen, bit of a mouthful but I guess you have to spell things out at the beginning and we can always shorten it to LNCYS.
Yahoo is making a play into proprietary content and since music is the most consumed content genre online it makes a lot of sense for them to make it a significant part of their new offering. Live Nation are of course the enormous live entertainment company that put on around 23,000 concerts last year and so they have access to a hell of a lot of content. So beginning this summer the LNCYS will stream a concert a day for a year and they will offer additional content including access to the Live Nation back catalogue.
Now the brand part. Live Nation and Yahoo are of course out selling the platform to brands and they also announced today that they have brought on board Kellogg as their launch partner. According to Jon Suarez-Davis, Kellogg vice president, Media and Digital Strategy, they “know consumers are passionate about food and music”. This is of course the standard issue line from any brand getting involved in music, simply remove the word “food” and replace with the appropriate product category, the key point is that people are passionate about music as proven by Live Nation selling over 60 million tickets last year. Consumers, as suggested by their name, want to consume and if Kellogg’s can help feed them more of what they love, they will get the brownie points. It’s an easy model that simply needs to be backed up by the right activation strategy and delivery of relevant content.
The idea of a new online channel is not really that spectacular these days but the partnership behind this one is what should be focused on. If Live Nation provide great and exclusive content then this could become a interesting alternative to You Tube and Vevo for brands wanting to get involved in music.
You can read the official version of events here.
In case some of you missed it, yesterday was the Content Marketing Association Summit 2013. You would not expect this to be the home of big, music focused statements but yesterday Nikhil Shah, the co-founder of online streaming service Mixcloud, changed that. He called out brands and their agencies announcing that they are simply not getting the most out of their relationship with music. In fact he went so far as to describe the majority of the content created through these partnerships as “bland pieces of marketing”.
In a lot of cases he is right. Most brands get involved with music as an easy marketing option, it quickly opens up audiences and the depth of the creative decisions is often no more than the selection of an artist or two. As Nikhil puts it:
“… in our world a lot of brands are still not using this opportunity in a proper content marketing fashion, instead they’re creating playlists that are pretty bland and don’t express their core brand values.”
He didn’t slam everyone, well you wouldn’t expect him to slag off his own work with Malibu, and I think on the whole the debate about branded playlists is still wide open but there is no doubt that brands and music need to get more creative in their output. There are so many platforms out there where consumers can access the music content they want, so it is no longer acceptable for brands to simply act as bouncers and instead they need to get in the club and party with their partners.
Oh yes and in the tradition of the last couple of weeks there was talk about the value of data but I don’t need to go into anymore detail about that.
You can read more about Nikhil’s speech in Marketing Week.