Get On The Music Boat

When it comes to online video, music is the single biggest lost opportunity for brands.

It baffles me how a brand can spend $30,000 to $300,000 on product marketing and consumer outreach videos, then not spend another 5% for professional music from either established or unknown artists. After all, in 1928, Warner Bros. saw 5000% profit margins from its first “talkies” -- films that were primarily musical in nature. More recently, Apple turned the tech industry on its ear through music. 

Music affects people. The Pied Piper is a parable -- but it’s also grounded in truth. It’s not just mice that respond to music. People do, too.

And brands aren’t forced to license music from well-established artists. Connect the dots:

DOT ONE While it is difficult to assign an exact number, it’s consensus that several million (that’s million) artists and bands are on MySpace.

DOT TWO Even Michelangelo was paid for the Sistine Chapel.

Patronage of the arts is a time-honored tradition -- a tradition brands have the opportunity to carry forward. Michelangelo took money from the Pope to paint the ceiling of his world’s most important religious real estate.  There surely are bands on MySpace that wouldn’t mind moving from “starving” to “slightly well-fed” artists by having their music in a branded product video.

Finding credible artists without high costs isn’t as daunting as it might seem:

  • Check out the lesser-known artists at music festivals like Outside Lands and Coachella.
  • Roam the sidewalks of 6th Street in Austin at SXSW.
  • Or simply watch for who’s coming through town at your smaller music venues.

Here’s the best part: pick the right music, and brands have the opportunity to be labeled as “cool” and “relevant” when the artists make it big. Your brand might even get credit for breaking the band to a wider audience. 

Maybe you should pay a little more attention to that band busking on the street corner or in the farmer’s market.

They could be your ticket to video success.

5 comments about "Get On The Music Boat".
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  1. Suzanne Levison from SLS Creative Search, November 30, 2011 at 12:32 p.m.

    I couldn't agree with you more. Excellent topic.

  2. The digital Hobo from, November 30, 2011 at 12:57 p.m.

    I honestly can't connect the dots. What is the point here? Online video creators should buy music for their videos? For what purpose?

    What circumstance does licensing better music help brands in online video? I don't disagree with the facts you are laying out, but I don't understand how they add up to "the single biggest lost opportunity for brands." Seems more like lost revenue for music creators to me.

    And lets not forget, there's a long history of bands and brands getting hitched.

  3. George Giatzis from JamLoop, November 30, 2011 at 1:45 p.m.

    I'll chime in to say that music stirs passion and any opportunity to wrap a brand around music should be considered. The question, however, is whether or not unknown music "moves the needle" the way we already know popular music does. There's a reason why the history of bands & brands becoming hitched exists. Associate with an artist who has any sort of fan base and you've significantly enhanced your brand's image among those fans. A phenomenon I witnessed involves a client of mine who webcasts live concerts. During a recent webcast I saw multiple messages from fans THANKING the concert webcast SPONSOR for helping to bring them the experience of watching that musical event! How often do we see the audience thank the sponsor?! Now that's PASSION!

  4. Mike Mcgrath from RealXstream PTY LTD, November 30, 2011 at 6:28 p.m.

    The right music can make or break a particular video. And for Brands is helps create emotion and establish a connection with consumers.
    My company spent weeks trawling for a wide range of tunes for the long-tail reality TV tandem skydiving videos that we produce and share for skydiving businesses and their customers around the world.

    Each video is identical in format but different because each customer is unique. We had to approach music artists individually and request permission to use their soundtrack before we could get up and running. It took time but it was worth it! Now we provide the soundtrack to some of the most intense moments of our customers lives. :-)
    Wish Soundtrack Records were around 2 years ago...

  5. Bryan Boettger from Reevuit, December 1, 2011 at 4:30 p.m.

    @TheDigitalHobo: Two big lost opportunities: 1) brands don't use any music in their videos and thus make them incredibly dull and 2) much more often, they use stock music, and BAD stock music at that, instead of pairing up with local artists. Pairing up with local artists would help brands get better quality music, would help fund starving artists and would introduce consumers to new music/artists that could create a longterm, beneficial effect for the brand.

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