One of the advantages of being “At Large” is the opportunity to see trends/events through the lens of an “outlier.” Operating out of Nashville, we may not have the same day-to-day connection to agencies that our colleagues in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago have, but we are certainly aware of the ways in which technology and culture are impacting the music industry as a whole - and along with it, our AMP members.
Six years ago, we started interviewing some of the advertising industries leading creative minds, gathering their perspectives of the use of music and sound in the context of branding. The result is our recently published book, “101 Great Minds on Music, Brands and Behavior.” In all these conversations, two themes emerge: First, everyone is resolute in their belief of the importance of music. Second, everyone wrestles with how this belief translates into actionable strategies and measurable results. Bottom line: the problems are systemic, which means any solution will be nothing short of disruptive and revolutionary.
Here are a few big takeaways for us from the year behind us, looking forward to what lies ahead -
• We continue to see the battle for centralization growing. Agencies and brands alike are looking at ways to control the creation and procurement of audio content. As they do, more doors will open for content creators to work directly with brands. Agencies will struggle to be the gatekeepers. Get ready to rumble.
• We continue to see the effects of commoditization. Libraries and licensing continue to take a big piece of the music for advertising pie. We should be honestly engaging questions around value, costs, procurement and returns. No one has the answer - but we should keep asking the questions.
• We’re seeing real opportunities for music to be a meaningful extension of the brand - rather than just an element of advertising. We should be actively looking for ways to help brands and agencies wield music as a strategic weapon rather than just a tactical tool. That’s the only way we’ll change the conversation.
• We’re seeing that research and testing are not the enemy of creativity. Rather, inadequate testing (and consequently, improper data analysis) is the enemy of creativity. We as content creators should find more ways to demonstrate the difference. In the words of Matt Damon, "Let’s science the shit out of this."
• Finally, collaboration is the way forward. We’ve gained a lot of new business by finding ways to work with companies that in the past might have been viewed as competitors. Let’s find new ways to connect, to pitch for business, to educate ourselves, to AMPlify our voices.