Sony Music offers brands tips on how to best work with the music industry



Sony Music Entertainment’s Gavin Parry offered brands and agencies 10 tips on how to best work with the music industry during a session at Spikes Asia.

“We have this idea of being a creative agency with a speciality in music,” Parry said on how the industry views itself. “We have a lot of tools in our toolset, whether it be live events, online and mobile, TV production, digital, syncing music.”

The first tip he offered was all brands eventually play within the music space.

“Every brand tends to move through a cycle. They play in the music space, they move out of the space, they may go into sport, comedy or fashion but eventually they will come back into music,” he said.

“You’re level of involvement doesn’t have to be huge. It could just be a great sync.”

Parry also stressed the importance of understanding who owns wants, citing the number of people involved in the industry from the artist and the manager, the publisher who owns the underlying rights of the song, the record label who owns the rights of the recorded song and tour promoters.

“To get a brand deal off and running you’re going to need to talk to a lot of those people if you want to do something really innovative,” he said.

His third point of advice was starting with the target market.

“We need to understand our market segmentation in the music space better then we have before. What we have been doing is going from country to country in the Asia Pacific region and we’ve been looking at an audience that represents the population and we’ve been mapping them and segmenting them based on their enthusiasm for music,” Parry explained.

“What this has done has been able for us to identify between 26 and 28 segments within all the markets. We use this for two reasons, one when we’re marketing us we know where to start the marketing for the particular artists but where it’s become powerful in the brand space is when we bring them in we can ask where do you want to go, what do you want to achieve.”

Parry’s fourth tip was “when you’re starting to engage in the music industry do not pick the artist or song first”.

“It happens a lot, creative agencies or brands say we just want this song or this artist, not knowing that it could be really expensive. We always try to get brands to go back to that segmentation and asking what they want to achieve,” he said.

He offered the example of a number of brands approaching them requesting to work with 1Direction.

“They weren’t that worried about what they wanted to achieve strategically, they just wanted to work with 1Direction and a lot of cases it was because the CEO’s daughter wanted to meet Harry,” he said.

Parry also stressed that it still needs to be an idea, saying artists aren’t interested in just being a brand spokesman.

He provided the example of a Cornetto-Unilver Taylor Swift collaboration.

The collaboration saw Cornetto create a new product based around the idea of ‘red’ – the title of her album at the time.

“They started off with a tour collaboration, and now they’ve got a product that’s aligned as well,” he said.

Sony worked with the brand further to create a talent competition which saw the winner be Swift’s support act.

Parry also reminded brands that they don’t have all the power in the relationship.

“Make sure you don’t go into the discussion with the music industry thinking the brand has all the power,” he said.

On using social media, Parry’s advice was to think about the platforms the artist is using and how big their reach is.

“What can I do? If I talk to the artist and I’m allowed to do various activities but the most important thing is what should I do? Most brands will want to do too much social media, they’ll want a post every two days from the artist. It’s very important that you stay credible with the artist and with your own brand, don’t push it,” he said.

Parry also suggested for brands to use all their resources.

“Not just with the lead act, but who else can be an influencer of the campaign,” he said, suggesting brands get support acts involved.

Parry’s final suggestion was too look at non-artist projects.

“You’re brand may not be the best to align with one particular artist, it may that you want a project in the music space that goes across the entire industry. We have a lot of things we do in the space,” he said.

These included, talent contests, apps such as Westpac’s SongFit, music giveaways.

“There’s also other opportunities for you in music services that are ad-funded,” he added, referring to streaming services such as Spotify.

His final tip was simple, do it with credibility.

“We see so many people jump in and out of the music industry rather then being credible and remaining in it for the long haul. Any brand that jumps in and out of music can really damage itself,” Parry said.

Miranda Ward at Spikes Asia




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