IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF CONSUMERISM…PLAY ON

This shall be one of my last posts for at least a week as I’m off for my annual pilgrimage to Glastonbury – the spiritual home of music.

I briefly mentioned last week that music has had a tough time establishing its commercial online business plan, mainly caused by the greed and confusion generated by the major record labels who were, and some still are, simply unprepared and uncompromising. On a medium which promotes freedom and sharing, the producer’s strategy was to simply throw their lawyers at anyone or any program seen to be stealing a single chord.

It was Apple who initially came to their rescue with the launch of iTunes in 2001. What the record labels failed to realise unlike Apple, was that the majority of P2P file sharers weren’t actually stealing music, but they found a more convenient method of obtaining it – hence iTunes’ current success, announcing on the 24th February 2010 that over 10 billion tracks had been downloaded in total.

But the music execs still weren’t happy. “More lawyers!” they shouted. That was until Spotify came along and showed them the marketing value of music by offering free melodies in exchange for advertisement. The message was slowly sinking in – the record labels needed to evolve!

Sony Music are perhaps pioneering this change with the release of their Music Marketing Gateway, a portal dedicated to enhancing the relationship between music and brands.

And the brands are an important player within this equation – there is a lot of money/exposure to be generated through working with brands as seen through Lady Gaga’s extended ‘Telephone’ video which featured brands such as Virgin Mobile, Diet Coke, Chevrolet and Polaroid. The video was viewed 500,000 times within 12 hours of airing and the official Lady Gaga YouTube video count currently stands at nearly 32M for the explicit version and nearly 58M for the clean – 90M combined! And of course, that’s not taking all the ‘unofficial’ versions into account plus the exposure generated through national headlines across the globe.

The latest brand to take advantage of this newly formed partnership is Coca-Cola who created the World Cup soundtrack with K’Naan – Wavin’ Flag which is currently sitting third in the UK singles chart. And the beauty of this partnership is not that the music is layered over all their latest TV ads, but the subtle subliminal Coke branding actually edited into the song itself.

Exhibit A – The Coca-Cola jingle (20 seconds in)

Exhibit B – K’Naan – Wavin’ Flag (23 seconds in)

Recognise that jingle? Thought you might…

And the absolute beauty of this activity is that radio stations across the UK, including the BBC network, are broadcasting this song to millions of listeners. Let me put it another way, on the hour every hour, UK radio stations are broadcasting the Coca-Cola jingle for free.

Summed up beautifully, if music be the food of consumerism…play on.

By the Comms Anarchist, Manchester based PR propagandist, social media transmitter and digital brigadier…at least i didn’t say ‘guru’.

Never mind the b*ll*cks…19/06/10

Here’s my pick of the week’s best online PR, social media activity plus digital developments which are breaking down the walls of traditional communication techniques:

MTV & American Express
It’s every socialite’s dream job, to be the social media voice of a generation. So whilst a group of fame-leaches rot in a house infested with cameras, they might wish they hadn’t bothered and instead have entered MTV’s latest online activity. Teaming up with American Express, the pop-culture specialists are searching for an ‘MTV TJ’ (Twitter Jockey) who will get access to red carpet events, hot celebrities and earn a $100,000 salary. Might apply myself…

THE SUN
People often ask; “How do you engage with bloggers?” They should perhaps be asking; “How do you not engage with bloggers?” This is a question The Sun should have pondered before pissing off every major football blogger by press-ganging them into their online World Cup activity. Silly Sun…

MUMMY BLOGGERS
Whilst we’re on the subject of bloggers, here’s a handy list of the UK’s top mummy bloggers released by Cision. Just make sure you treat them with respect…hell has no fury like a mummy blogger scorned.

RED BULL X FIGHTERS
In preparation for Red Bull’s imminent X Fighters event in London, the thrill-seeking brand is asking fans to create a short ‘highlight’ mash-up of archive footage. An excellent example of crowdsourcing, watch this campaign develop as Red Bull utilises the homemade content to their own advantage. Quite similar to a campaign I was involved with for Hyundai – 30beats.

LEGO
30 minutes in length, perhaps keep this one on the back burner until the next England match. But it’s well worth a watch as Jake McKee explains the success behind LEGO’s social media strategy.

By the Comms Anarchist, Manchester based PR propagandist, social media transmitter and digital brigadier…at least i didn’t say ‘guru’.

Blowing my own trumpet…

Following yesterday’s blog about my thoughts on the vuvuzela and how broadcasters could silence their relentless encore – I was pleased to see this morning that the BBC has indeed listened to my words of wisdom and actioned them:

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=3102&art_id=iol1276578581757B232

Ok…I know what you’re thinking. It could have also been some other bright spark’s initiative but on the other hand, I’d like to think that the BBC’s social media monitors picked up my suggestion and fed it back to the big-wigs.

What could you learn from your customers?

By the Comms Anarchist, Manchester based PR propagandist, social media transmitter and digital brigadier…at least i didn’t say ‘guru’.

FIFA blows their own trumpet…

So World Cup officials have pledged that the tournament’s current villain, not Rob Green but the loathed vuvuzela, will not be silenced.

There was a lot of conversation surrounding these horns in the buildup to the games with many arguing that although they supply a piece of South African Spirit…they are bloody annoying. And I have to admit, although a lover of the beautiful game…even I’m struggling to get through a full ninety minutes!

For me, they make the game so impersonal. I like to hear the sound of the crowd where one single action causes a whole torrent of audio and visual reactions – whether that be cheers and squeals of celebration or moans and groans of despair, it’s all part of the game. Instead we’re subjected to a rendition of The Charge of the Light Brigade albeit orchestrated by a giant bee.

However, I’m not a dictator and not one to call for our culture to replace another but I do feel that the broadcasters have missed a trick in the form of utilising their digital ‘red button’ capabilities. Here’s a suggestion if you’re listening BBC, ITV, Sky Sports or ESPN…how about providing an interactive service where viewers have the option to select and watch a game WITH the match commentary but WITHOUT the background noise? Problem solved!

You could even install microphones at UK Fan Parks to bring back the match atmosphere which we’re more accustom to. Failing that…I don’t think I could take another four weeks of the vuvuzela. What’s on the other channel?

By the Comms Anarchist, Manchester based PR propagandist, social media transmitter and digital brigadier…at least i didn’t say ‘guru’.

Never mind the b*ll*cks…

Here’s my pick of the week’s best online PR, social media activity plus digital developments which are breaking down the walls of traditional communication techniques:

BBC RADIO 5LIVE
The addictive power of the Mexican Wave has been fully harnessed by 5Live with their Big Mexican Wave project. As it says on the tin, they’re creating a big Mexican Wave online and asking listeners to log on and continue the wave – promoting their World Cup coverage along the way. Who couldn’t resist a good Mexican Wave ey?

COCA-COLA
There’s a new way of thinking in town and that’s brands redirecting their efforts into social media rather than their own websites. It’s not a hot off the press concept but it is surprising to see Coke, a company built upon ramming corporate messages down your throat, announce to the world that this is their new way of thinking.

SONY MUSIC
This week saw Radiohead’s Thom York claim that the music business will fold within months and that aspiring musicians should stay clear of the major record labels. It’s no secret that the Simon Cowell’s of this world have struggled to get their heads around an online business plan but the clever folk at Sony Music have launched an online research hub to show brands the effectiveness of music in marketing. And if Lady Gaga’s ‘Telephone’ video is anything to go by, they’ll have marketeers eating out of the palm of their hand.

BING
The conundrum that is Bing. Can they realistically make a dent in Google’s hold over the internet? Well…at least they’re having a go. Microsoft has just announced that the engine will now rank search results from Facebook. As a major resource for information, this is a good move by Bing.

By the Comms Anarchist, Manchester based PR propagandist, social media transmitter and digital brigadier…at least i didn’t say ‘guru’.

My first words…

“I’m the one person in this industry who famously has never made any money. I used to say some people make money and some make history.”

The late, great Tony Wilson

Here it is, my own damn blog. For sometime I’ve been hemorrhaging my thoughts on brazen babble…and it’s really not fair of me to punish my colleagues like that. Amazing jokes aside, I’ve been sat here for hours panicking about what my first words should be…there’s so much pressure to get them right – I bet Neil Armstrong was shi**ing in his spacesuit when taking his first steps on the moon! So instead of saying something ridiculous, I thought I’d let Tony do the talking.

Our first words are so important…impressions and relationships are literally forged within seconds so you can understand why it is imperative to get them right. Ask Nick Clegg…his first words got him into Downing Street (sort of).

With my first words now behind me, I shall bid you adieu and leave you with the following…

“My life is made complete by working with people who are cleverer than me, I am obsessed with their genius. I am just a journalist or a presenter. I can’t write songs or design clubs. And I’ve never wanted to be a rock star because I can’t sing. I have a craft and I’m good at that.”

The late, great Tony Wilson


the start of something beautiful…

it’s on its way…