“Brought to you by Fruit of the Loom.”
How would you feel about your music being preceded by a brief recorded message from the underwear maker? Are fans just as willing to listen to audio advertising at the start of songs as they are willing to put up with seeing ads? If it means they get the song for free, apparently the answer is yes.
We’ve talked about bands and brands partnering up (like Throw Me The Statue in an Urban Outfitters commercial) and the trend is clearly not slowing down. In this new frontier, it’s becoming imperative to think outside the box and explore new media. Even CBS is doing it: OMG Boobies: Victoria’s Secret on Your Mobile. One of the most prevalent examples of band/brand partnerships that we’re seeing as of late is the ad-supported music model.
trueAnthem, which we first stumbled across because of their early work with Ultraviolet Sound, has been forging ahead and signing more and more bands. Led by Brad Barnes, they are pioneering a “new way for independent and undiscovered artists and bands to get paid while sharing their music with their fans for free – and without having to sign away their lives to a major music label”. Check out their widget (which you can grab and post wherever) – you can download the artists’ album for free. Free, as long as you don’t mind hearing and ad at the start of each song.
Personally, I don’t mind at all. The folks at trueAnthem (probably largely thanks to Emaleigh) have done a great job of pairing the right brand with each band and presenting the sponsor’s messaging in an appropriate way. If you browse through the various bands, you notice brands like Guitar Center, Steve Madden, and Baby Phat… and when you hear that band’s music you can’t help but nod and go “yep… that’s a fit”.
Another interesting example is the recently launched digital music service WE7, which has “all four majors and hundreds of independent labels via The Orchard on board.” Compensation is derived from ad revenues.
What seemed like a distant pipedream not too long ago is certainly becoming the new reality. The music industry simply must accept that the new generation of music consumers – you know, the ones who grew up with the internet and can’t imagine a world without it – expect to get their music for free (one way or another). And they want to consume it in their own way, on their own time, and in their preferred way. So, we might as well make that possible and find ways to still pay the artists. And that is exactly what WE7 has done.
A key ingredient in this equation is obviously appropriate pairing of bands and brands. The sites and services who do this best will likely come out on top. The advertisers need to reach their target demographics. And the music capturing that particular audience might be just the vehicle to get them there.