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’.

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