Sunday, November 05, 2006

Saving The Music Industry One Brand at a Time

From the beginning of my career as a music producer of television and radio commercials, I sometimes received calls from consumers who wanted to purchase an album that contained the music they heard on a given spot. However, album production is not a general compliment to spot production. So, there never was a product to recommend people buy –unless they were referring to a pop track that an ad agency had licensed in lieu of commissioning an original underscore. In fact, most of the time the music one hears on a TV or Radio commercial rarely extends beyond the thirty or sixty seconds specifically created for the ad.

As a result:

1) A given intellectual property is limited from possible secondary use by simple virtue of its length.
2) Resulting inability to leverage music into extended customer experience (away from the TV).
3) Diminished ROI by neglecting opportunity (based on demand) to create a for-sale entertainment unit (or a Point-of-Purchase gift that may generate future sales).

Considering this, I began as early as 1994 pitching the concept of creating entertainment collateral. At the time I initially conceived of this collateral as 'gifts' redeemable upon purchase. For instance, buy a car, and here's a CD you can play on the drive home, et al. The idea would be to produce the music in tandem with the production of our primary commissions (being TV/Radio commercial, web site, theme park or electronic game scores). However –regrettably– at the time I couldn't convince one account to allocate the resources required to test this concept, although all seemed to think it was great idea (for someone else to do).

Regardless, the concept stuck with me. In March of 2001 the online marketer's magazine Clickz published an article I wrote on the subject of Sonic Branding. In it I argued the merit of this concept and other such alliances; and I suggested the following:

If music in a marketing context does its job, it will inform as well as entertain. And if consumers –that is, your audience– call the company switchboard and ask who wrote the music and where they can buy a CD of it, then maybe you and your client should actually produce a promotional CD that consumers can take home and listen to whenever they want...If you've produced a CD, for instance, folks will listen to it while they eat, work out, make love, and your company will be the underscore to their lives. Oats may be oats, but if I'm making babies to your music, then chances are my babies will be eating your oats.

Now, I was by no means the originator of this idea:

In the nineteen-seventies Post –and other cereal companies– packaged singles with their Super Sugar Crisp product. Many such promotions were dreadful (at least to adult ears). However, the Sugar Bears “You Are The One" continues to enjoy happy memories from enduring fans of the song to this day. Why? –Because the song framed an episode in many people’s youth. Their collective recollection has essentially been wrapped in its own soundtrack, brought to you by Post. And that's why kids of all ages still think the Post Super Sugar Crisp Bear IS THE MAN!.

* * *

Click on any link below to read all the articles in the four-part Fall 2006 AUDIO AS ADDED VALUE series exploring exploring new paradigms for Music Distribution:

1. The Compact Disc Is Dead
2. Saving The Music Industry One Brand at a Time
3. Self-Referential Jingles are not Content
4. Synergy = Energy

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