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Photo: Caurret (left) with fellow BETC EURO RSCG music supervisor Fabrice Brovelli (photo: William Parra)

The overall value of the recorded music industry dropped by 31% between 2004 and 2010 (Source: IFPI 2011). Despite this collapse, the majors still cling to their outdated model.

Their efforts to diversify distance them from their primary function of creating value and developing truly creative marketing strategies, in synergy with their artists.

Offering 7 million songs for free download with the purchase of a car, a phone subscription or a credit card creates no value for brands, artists or even less for music. At the heart of a global strategy, musical marketing may become essential for modern brands, but they must be carried out with thought and consistency.

For successful collaboration between music and brands, three notions are essential: value, time and legitimacy.

The most important is the creation of value. Such an alliance must generate added value for both the artist and the brand. There is no meaning in taking an artist dug randomly out of back catalogue, or from choosing the best-known international, if you do not tell a real story, in line with the brand’s strategy.

David Guetta’s affiliation with several companies such as Sennheiser, Franck Provost, Seat, Burn, Swatch, Vitamin Water, Sony Ericsson, Hollywood Chewing Gum, Renault, or Vueling, only increases his status as an advertising hoarding. Conversely, attaching itself with such an artist tarnishes the image of the brand because there is no value creation. It is just a one-shot with no link with the brand’s strategy, which leads to confusion and loss of effectiveness of the message.

The key is to involve artists who have a true musical and artistic presence to bring the brand and the music. We can cite Converse and its ‘Get Out Of The Garage Music Tour’ and the general involvement of Levi’s in music, especially during its recent campaign with Lykke Li.

In addition, to justify the intelligence of a transaction between music and brands, it has to be done on a long term basis and in a comprehensive and coherent process across all platform types, from events to digital media. A marketing campaign will not be a relevant brand-artist association if it is just based on a few isolated projects: a story needs to be told around it. Our work today with Air France, for example, is the culmination of a musical identity built since 1999, when the company first advertised with BETC.

This identity is coherent with a comprehensive communication strategy, giving it relevance and legitimacy. The association between an artist and a brand must be part of an exchange for it to be win-win for both parties. There must be a common thread and the exchange must be balanced, as with Van’s work with Santigold, and clothing brand Petit Bateau with French artist Izia.

Finding new sources of revenue is essential for the recording industry. But some labels must not start hawking their music, calling themselves consultants for brands in order to sell their catalogue at any price. Brands can become essential patrons for music but it is not their primary function. Music and brand associations are opportunities to lead each partnership with intelligence and specificity.

Let’s not sell out music under the pretext that we have to find new revenue sources, as that can often lead to vulgar celebrity-fests that are detrimental to brands.

This post was written by Christophe Caurret, music supervisor for the Paris-based agency BETC EURO RSCG, with input from the rest of the KCPK & BETC MUSIC team.


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