“Physical” CDs or “virtual” playlists?
In the previous article, we saw compilations as instruments of sound branding. In a time when physical formats are disappearing, the packaging and the possibility of touching something with your hands creates a strong sentimental value to evoke memories and splendour.
However, this kind of marketing tool has some fixed costs and some variable costs that cannot always be covered. Those costs include the glass master, the Siae seal, the initial fees for getting the rights to the seal, the license to use the desired music on the CD, printing and masterization. These costs are essentially amortised depending on the number of copies.
Taking a cue from this article, written in November, it is possible to retrace a synthesis of that which has been successful in the last 10 years regarding the musical offerings and the alternative means of listening. A relatively brief period that is comprised of various key passages to understand how the market and technology has developed from when the velocity of exchanging data over networks has reached elevated standards. The market has evolved and is doing so even now, towards a specific direction: offering liquid music.
Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music
The new streaming platforms offer 20 million tracks to listen to for free, in exchange for some ads. Alternatively, by paying a monthly subscription fee of 9.90 euros, one can enjoy music without intrusive ads and with higher sound quality.
This is a turning point for users. At any time, we can listen and re-listen to new and old tracks without ever having to download a single song. This means, in terms of space, the abandonment not only of CDs, but also of all of the means of archiving, like hard discs and usb drives. This eliminates the possibility that some tracks are forgotten on a computer rather than on a cell phone. When I hear a new song on the radio, I identify it with Shazam and within one minute I save it to a playlist. Or I follow the artist. Further, the platform advises me to listen to similar artists and makes all of the artists’ albums available to me.
Are there advantages for businesses?
Of course, there are many advantages. This opens new perspectives through which, in the music, one can see an important marketing tool: the account becomes the brand and the playlist becomes the object of sharing.
It is a fast and extremely powerful sound-branding tool. Provided that it is identifiable and seen as a real possibility for adding value. Otherwise, it is useless.
In reality, I am beginning a phase of experimentation (using Spotify) with two prestigious brands: a test regarding the deluxe hospitality sector and the fashion industry. Two important tests that will be officially published and publicised as soon as all of the requisites for good communication are established. This is what I am talking about. Communicating with music. Making people feel through sound where the emotional value is strong.
Abercrombie & Fitch, McDonald’s, Nike, Coca Cola, Starbucks…these are only a few of the brands that each year invest millions in music.
Today, it is possible for these behemoths to invest ridiculous sums of money on these purchases, which are naturally proportional to the number of people they wish to reach. The playlist becomes an emotional souvenir, a memory, a message to leave with guests and clients, to show them that we exist even outside the point of sale or hospitality structure.
Feelings = Memories
In the case of a hotel, our guests can hear a selection of music that accompanies them through their stay, encouraging them to remember their experience. They can listen to that “playlist” anywhere and any time and share it with their loved ones, who in turn can do the same. All of this with initial investments that-no longer needing a seal, license, and packaging-will greatly lessen.
The same discourse matters for a clothing brand. The client leaves the store satisfied with the experience in its entirety (speaking of brand experience) and will have the opportunity to reinvoke that experience by listening to mindfully and accurately dedicated playlists.
This is why the need arises for a professional who knows the value that a brand wishes to emit, so they may translate it into the language of sound. With that language, they are able to communicate and dialogue with old, new, and potential guests and clients.