Why the new music web is the perfect API for building brand connections

Twitter just announced its biggest global advertising partnership to date. It’s a global 12 months deal with Pepsi - and it’s all about music. The aim of the collaboration is „to bring fans closer to what’s hot in music“ – as twitter writes on its advertising blog.

With this deal, Pepsi will give Twitter’s 140 million active users around the world a unique and real-time way to discover and consume music. Pepsi will break new ground by bringing fans closer to what’s hot in music and connecting them with the artists they are most passionate about, all through Twitter. 

Here’s what the partnership will offer to music fans:

  1. Free weekly music downloads from Amazon MP3: @pepsi will tweet about new and notable music using the #LiveforNow hashtag. This way @pepsi will also hand out free download codes for Amazon’s MP3 download store.
  2. Weekly video series „Live for now Music“: pepsi will dig into twitter’s big data pool to create a weekly music series based on what’s trending and buzzing among music lovers around the globe. #LiveForNow Music Episode #1has just been uploaded to YouTube last night.
  3. A series of exlusive pop-up concerts: this is probably the most exciting part as it will bring exclusive pop-up concerts by major artists to twitter followers first. All concerts will be streamed on twitter live through @pepsi’s enhanced profile page.

The twitter deal is part of Pepsi’s new global campaign #livefornow – which, as Pepsi writes, is also the new global strategic positioning of its brand.

Pepsi conducted extensive global research, connecting with thousands of fans, and "Live for Now" reflects the insight that Pepsi fans all around the world desire to capture the excitement of now – a mind-set that is aligned at the very core with the brand's DNA.

One month ago Pepsi’s eternal (bigger) rival Coca Cola announced a similar partnership with Spotify. Which lead to an interesting article in Billboard Magazin called: The world’s two biggest beverage brands are battling out their Cola Wars in the Music Space.

Billboard Magazin: Coke Wars take to Music


Of course music & brand marketing has a long history as Billboard Magazine rightly points out:

Coke's use of music as a branding tool goes back to 1899, and though Pepsi's music strategy didn't kick in until the 1950s, by the '60s more than 150 original Coke jingles performed by the likes of the Who, the Supremes and Aretha Franklin wrestled for airtime with Pepsi songs from the Four Tops, Martha & the Vandellas and Jackie DeShannon (see story, page 23).

And of course Coke and Pepsi are not the only brands to leverage music to connect with consumers.

However the rise of Social Media and the new music industry reality have created a set of opportunities never available before. Figuratively speaking Music has become an API, on which clever marketers can build meaningful connections with consumers:

Music is the perfect connecting content

Social Media + Musicians = Perfect Marriage

  • These two things said, it comes with no surprise that musicians are the top followed VIP’s on nearly all social media services. See the top accounts on Twitter, Facebook & YouTube.
  • In fact social networks are at least as depending on musicians and their unique emotionally sticky content, as musicians on these social tools for building new direct connections to their fans.
  • This is why twitter, facebook and youtube all are investing in music marketing partnerships. The Wall Street Journal recently published a good article on these new interdependencies.

Music consumption is becoming social & mobile

  • iTunes and other Download stores were a nice temporary replacement of physical sales after the decline of the CD.
  • But music is inexorably moving to the cloud. People don’t download music, but purchase the right to listen – whether by paying money or accepting advertising.
  • Companies like Spotify and Rdio are at the epicenter of this fundamental change of how we listen to music.
  • Due to its deep integration with Facebook (and other social channels), Spotify is turning listening to music into a truly social experience. The social element on Amazon was limited to see: „People who bought this, also bought that“ & mabye a couple of reviews by unknown Amazon customers. On Spotify I see in what my real friends are listening to, what songs & playlists are trending among them – all in realtime. Of course sharing songs and playlists with friends is also just a one click job.

Music is becoming an API

  • Now, where things really get interesting is in the big data sets that streaming services like Spotify have built up in no-time. By tapping into this data, Spotify is creating the most emotional of all taste graphs.
  • By providing a development platform in form of an API, Spotify enables partners to launch dedicated apps that leverage both, it’s massive catalog and the big data set, to create meaningful connections.
  • Here’s two examples: Tastebuds helps me find people nearby that have the same taste in music, whereas Songkick will make sure that I won’t miss a single live concert by a band in my Spotify music library.
  • Last month Spotify announced that it is launching branded Apps in the US. AT&T is among the first brands and it will launch an app that will „plots songs to the locations where they were written, recorded, played or performed“.

AT&T Spotify App


Even though the last paragraph was heavily focused on Spotify (and Spotify really having a technical development platform in form of an open API) my thesis is of general nature.

With musical content being available on countless websites such as YouTube, Soundcloud or Spotify and being shared, commented as well as annotated through multiple social channels like Facebook, Twitter & Blogs - music has become a connected emotional layer on the web. And this music layer is the perfect API (figuratively speaking) for brands to tab into and build meaningful connections to their audiences.