For sometime we have been used to music and advertising working together. In many ways, its never been subtle, from the famous Pepsi style ads, to HIp Hop acts wearing branded goods such as Nike and Reebok.
However, its never become a point of standard practise. Mainly because not all acts or all songs reach a large enough or relevant enough audience. Additionally, what with the economy being so tough at present, advertisers demand stats and feedback to deomstrate the bang they get for their buck.
A few years back, Sting’s video for Desert Rose was doubled up as the advert for a Jaguar. It was still subtle enough (in contrast to a pepsi ad) to fit around the narrative of the video but had enough shots of the car so that it could be used in a shortened form for tv and cinema adverts.
With everyone, reaching out and grasping new income models will the idea of advertiser driven content raise its head? We are already seeing how much of the tv industry is supplementing its income due to a market that has gone through huge amounts of fragmentation, and due to advert slots themselves being less effective partially attributed to the tivo style technologies that now exist.
Shows are either being commissioned by sponsors or prexisting shows are being touted to possible sponsors who may like the concept and see a fit with their product or message.
Why not the same with music? I’m not only suggesting this for individual tracks or artists. Why not apply this approach to the great untapped ‘brand’ of the label itself? Labels have never understood brand. Even though they take great pride in their LABEL, apart from the DefJams or specialist jazz labels of this world, the ‘label’ has rarely stood for anything in the minds of the consumer. Consumers, for the large part, did not buy this or that album because it was on Universal or EMI. They followed the act.
However, if the labels can actually come up with identities (you could call them labels!) which have a very strong focus, and start to sell them as ‘channels’ being targeted at specific target groups- why then they might find that they have a platform which advertisers will want to embrace. This would help create targeted income on Utube Channels, physical product, tv slots. One can even see opportunities with regard to how their music is ‘presented’ on platforms such as Itunes, Amazon or the new mobile ‘unlimited’ music services.
Of course this could have a cynical affect on the music. However, it shouldn’t. After all, record labels have always pushed music that was appealing to an audience. Without doing that, it would not sell and hence not be supported by the label. All we are doing here is doing it in a more coordinated way and making sure the record company’s own label really means something.
We have already seen how music shows on tv are being snapped up by sponsors and ad agencies the world over. Now is the time to take that trend and make it apply to music in general and not just American idol and its copycat shows.