MUMBAI: One cannot deny the strong connection between brands and music in the ever evolving music industry. More and more labels, artists and musicians are becoming aware about brand association that could help them attain a more successful outcome. The second day of the 6th edition of MixRadio Music Connects in Mumbai had CNBC TV-18 editor storyboard Anant Rangaswami lead a panel discussion called “The brand story”. Through this panel, the audience got to learn about the importance of brands in the music ecosystem. The invited panelists included Viacom18 EVP media and business head MTV and MTV Indies Aditya Swami, Bacardi India general manager marketing Ali Imran and Vivanta by Taj GM Manojeet Bhujabal.
The panel discussed the role of brand partnerships within the music industry. The session started with Branded co founder and CEO and Music Matters president Jasper Donat and indiantelevision.com group founder, CEO and editor in chief Anil Wanvari present an award to Imran, for Bacardi’s excellent brand association with music.
The key point of the discussion began with understanding how brands develop their strategies when collaborating with music.
Speaking about Taj’s music connect, Bhujabal elaborated: “Music is a primordial expression for us. Our hotels are well-known but we want to present an alternative life outside the realm of hotels. It was tough to initially develop a notion for Vivanta. We started on a basic level through house music. We went onto present Urban Tease, Barn Fest, Divas of Rock and Urban Folk. We also developed the Vivanta Sound Lab series and we look forward to discover emerging talents with fresh content.”
Imran felt there is no straight substitute for music. He commented, “Music is like oxygen for us. It reaches humans in a way that probably no other passion does. For Bacardi, music is a natural fit considering what the brand stands for, its lineage of parties and celebrating the human spirit.”
Providing his perspective as a channel head on why brands get associated with a music channel, Aditya Swami explained, “Digital has become a key part of the consumer ecosystem. It has allowed brands to talk to consumers in the language of music. We have attracted brands that want to create conversations and we have successfully done so over the years”.
Swami added that the presentation of music is of paramount importance in the industry, today. He said, “With brands supporting us, we have managed to showcase original music in the best way possible. Today, a brand like Pepsi is a partner of MTV Indies, a dedicated destination for non-film, non-mainstream music. We have given Pepsi a great platform for people to talk about what the brand is doing for the youth. Music is the voice of youth. It’s not just TV ratings that matters now. Traditional metrics are changing and there is a need to build brand love. Platforms like music are fantastic for this”.
Swami elaborated further that the music industry has an opportunity to develop within the area of music and brand partnerships. He said, “In the last 12 months, every interesting music idea that we have taken to the market has had at least a brand that is interested, as opposed to taking an idea of a reality show or TV soap where the market has become very saturated. Today, retail and lifestyle products are also part of the music ecosystem”.
At this point, Rangaswami added that brands might have a set of guidelines that would help attain a more successful outcome. He asked the panel how do the brands decide what kind of music to select when working on a campaign?
To that, Bhujabal replied: “We initially work with content partners who know the domain well. We enunciate what are the idioms and what to bring on the floor. We look at the audience and decide who we are targeting. After that, it is the job of the content creator to curate”. Bhujabal also emphasised on the importance of social media and social engagement to see how many people are engaged and liking their association with that selected genre of music.
Ending the panel discussion with some food for thought, Swami commented: “Today, I do not see enough brands or content players doing interesting cuts of our pop music industry. The content guys need to come up with interesting ideas and content relevant for brands around pop music industry. That is a huge space for us to tap into”.