Jeremy Holley is a Founding Partner at FlyteVu, a Nashville-based entertainment marketing agency that connects brands to consumers.
Music is an important piece of everything we do and consume: content, social media, commercials. You can’t even go to the grocery store without hearing some mix of classic hits and top 40, and you wouldn’t walk into a restaurant or coffee shop without immediately hearing a mood-setting track to go along with your meal. That is because music creates emotion, and emotion drives sales. It is no wonder music is the crux of the consumer experience and brands are under pressure to get it right the first time.
I see the pressure firsthand in my work connecting brands to consumers via the power of music for partnerships, campaigns and experiences that grow their presence in a market. A well-executed partnership can elevate a brand, while a bad one detracts from the brand and may even result in penalties for the company.
Brands should also be wary of industry shifts when it comes to using music in campaigns. Recently, popular short-form content platform TikTok pulled back on brands’ use of music, leaving only a limited library of royalty-free songs available for branded content use. It came as a shock to many, especially companies who consistently use the platform with songs attached to their most successful partnerships. The change will require brands (looking to score the next viral hit) to obtain the appropriate commercial license, which is an important move that will only continue as new content platforms launch by the minute.
Good music is about legitimacy.
In the early 2000s, Tandem CampMany Guasch in Barcelona hired musician José María Martín to write and record an original song for an Audi commercial in Spain that sounded similar to Tom Waits’ 1987 song “Innocent When You Dream.” Waits, protective of his reputation and commercial uses of his music, was known to turn away requests to license the song.
Tom Waits doesn’t mind an impersonation in a live performance but takes offense when somebody copies his music to sell a product — as he should. He told the New York Times, “They get a lot out of standing next to me, and I just get big legal bills.”
The Audi commercial is just one example of a brand choosing a knockoff track to emulate the same feel and emotion people have long felt from Waits’ original. The lawsuit offers a lesson for brands choosing music for a campaign. Just as real estate is all about location, good music is about legitimacy.
Music should be relatable.
In addition to legitimacy, a brand should also consider identifiable or relatable artists when choosing music. These artists can cause some consumers to mentally separate the brand from other brands — which is defined as the halo effect.
Here’s a fun game to play to help think about the value of premium music. Can you think of a single song used in a BlackBerry or Samsung television ad? Can you think of a single artist associated with either brand? Would you remember it if you heard it?
Now, can you think of a song or artist featured in an Apple commercial? This should be easier. You may have heard “Vertigo” by U2 or “1, 2, 3, 4” by Feist, or maybe you fell in love with Anderson Paak’s “Till It’s Over” due to the HomePod ad. The reason for your affirmative answers is partly because the ads were visually remarkable, but Apple’s ads are memorable also because of the music.
Options for sourcing music.
You have two options to find music for your spot: Hire a musician to create the music, or license it. In either case, brands should seek out experienced advisors that understand the importance of the creative process as well as the dynamics of the music business. In addition to helping choose the music, these advisors are responsible for “clearing” each song with its publishers and copyright holders by obtaining permission to license it so that it can be used legally.
High-quality music that provides more value to a brand involves working with highly specialized people, not faceless computer algorithms. Licensing music requires relationships with rights holders and negotiations over the length and scope of the campaign. It requires people who understand the nuts and bolts of licensing and copyright law.
When you have your trusted advisor or advisors selected, it’s time to choose the song. Here are three tips:
• Define the role. Decide what role music will play in your video. Engage in music conversations at the start of the creative process, not at the end. Many brands wait until the end and don’t have any budget left to secure the right song.
• Set the mood. Determine what emotion you’re trying to set. Do you want your audience to feel empowered or defeated? Joyful or somber?
• Know your audience. Consider who your audience will be. Then, ask if the music will resonate with them.
A song represents who a brand is and what it wants to become. Brands have to get it right. Otherwise, it’s just background noise.
Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?
Go to Source
Author: Jeremy Holley, Forbes Councils Member