Brands and Music: How brands invest in music

Big brands are getting more involved in music promotion and the music industry than ever before. Brands see the value in marketing through music to connect their brand to music fans in a whole new way. Some brands partner with huge, fully established top tier artists such as Pepsi with names over the years like Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, and One Direction. We consistently hear popular music used in television ads to play to fans as well.

It's always been a strategy for brands to sync up with big acts who are already house hold names, but as these artists can be very costly, we are seeing a big trend for brands to form relationships with more up and coming artists and actually get involved in their music. For the brands, they see the value in investing in a rising star who might be more cost effective while still allowing the brand to attach themselves to great music. The brand has the resources to help the artist gain exposure and more airplay which will in turn help the brand. This strategy also allows the brand to truly connect with the up and artist community, their fans, and show that they are really about the music.

Let's explore some important points around brands getting involved with music.

Authenticity of brand partnership

The marraiage between a brand and an artist needs to feel authentic and natural. Often times the term "sell out" is throw around, but if there is an authentic connection between the artist and the brand, then it can work. It's important for an artist to choose a brand that shares the same values and makes sense for them to partner with. It's just as important for a brand to choose the right artist the speaks to their values. If a brand is truly invested in the music and not just trying to use the artist for their own gain, then a mutually beneficial partnership will work.

Connecting with emotions

Music is emotional. By using music, brands seek to tap into the emotional effect music creates. It can be powerful for brands to tap into the emotional trigger that the music provides as music is a reflection of our souls. Music is one of the best ways to get someone to feel something and make the connection between the emotions that drive their decisions and their perception of the brand.

Ads in streaming services are annoying

Most people are annoyed by ads! When ads pop up on websites, people instinctively close out of them. When ads appear in streaming services or audio ads interrupt your music listenin experience, people can't wait for them to end. A clear sign of ads being viewed negatively is that the most advertised benefit of paying for a music streaming service is that you don't receive ads.

Brands like to advertise on streaming services to try and associate with the music, but inside streaming services, ads have always been separated from the music and are often viewed as intrusive, which may hurt the brand. There is a gap in streaming services to actually associate the brand with a specific artist or song that allows users to enjoy a branded experience where they listen and while they listen to music.

Brands help artists gain exposure

An artist’s success is crucial to both the artist and the brand that supports them. Unless a brand partners with a costly, top tier artist, it is in the brand’s best interest to promote the artist and get them more airplay to build a base of real fans. As it’s more cost effective to harmonize with an up and coming artist, they still need to grow their fan base. By helping the artist gain exposure, it will ultimately help the brand. We see brands that don't just partner with artists, but actaully invest in their overall success.

Keeping up with technology

New technology always provides more innovative, efficient, and faster ways to reach target markets. It’s important to always stay ahead of the market by taking advantage of the newest methods available. Most digital ad platforms are very costly as impressions compete against non-music related ad space. Especially for brands that promote through music, it is crucial to utilize a digital advertising platform that is built specifically for music promotion to accomplish their goals.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Red Bull Records, Red Bull Sound Select, and Red Bull Music Academy: Red Bull is an energy drink. What are they doing in the music industry? Well Red Bull has formed its own record company and a long-term initiative via Sound Select that celebrates local music and the people that push it forward.
  • Hard Rock Records: This seems like an obvious one. The well known rock rocused enterprise went the whole distance to establish their own record company as well.
  • Vans Music: Vans sponsors the warped tour and has a site dedicated to showcasing music and events.

  • Converse Rubber Tracks and Converse Music: Converse Rubber Tracks is a community-based professional recording studio in Brooklyn, NY. Emerging musicians of all genres can apply for free studio time. If selected, artists record at no cost while maintaining the rights to their own music. In addition to their Brooklyn studio, they partner with local recording studios in San Francisco, Boston, Toronto, and Los Angeles to provide free recording time for local musicians.

  • Under Armour Natural Born Hitters Contest: Under Armour held a contest that allowed any artist to submit music to be used in Under Armour's commercial spot during Monday Night Football. The winning artist along with the runner ups can be listened to on their site.