Post Thumb

Brands are not alien to the concept of partnerships and integration. After exploring television and films, brands are now tapping one of the hitherto least-explored mediums — music.

In recent years, we have seen brand jingles — Closeup’s 'Pas aao na' or Nerolac’s ‘Jab ghar ki raunak badhani ho’ — being converted into songs. Similarly, existing songs such as Badshah’s Saturday Saturday have been tweaked and integrated with advertisements.

In India, music is now one of the top segments used by brands and marketers to sell products. For over five years, Sony Music has been syncing their music with brands for several products. So, how exactly are these music partnerships helping brands connect with consumers?

Kiran D’cruz, Head of Brand Partnerships and Music Licensing, Sony Music, explained that with this integration, the brand is able to offer maximum efficiency with just one investment. “Rather than creating multiple films for TV and digital, the brand are able to aggregate audience, create community and build artist association on the digital platform and at the same time have a rub-off effect on TV as they used the shorter format of the same film,” he said.

D’cruz said music partnership is a two-way street as it not only introduces music fans to a new brand but also helps brand fans to tap into new music. Explaining, he cited an example of Sony Music’s artist Badshah who has worked with brands like Tuborg and Yamaha.

“When we started five years back, music artists were at the bottom of the pecking order for brands. So, we had to impress upon our client the importance of music artists and music as a platform. We got Badshah to collaborate with Tuborg as both had the similar aspect of fun and party. Associating with the artist at the growing stage helped the brand to grow with the artist. So the brand fans became music fans and artist fans became brand fans,” D’cruz added.

Music has several layers and can be explored by various means from artistes associations, recreating a song or song integrations or several other forms. Hence, for Sony Music, when it comes to brand integration and partnership, the focus is solely on music. D’cruz said, “Television and radio have been selling music as a platform and not as music. There is a huge difference. For instance, Proper Patola is a great song and when we pitch it to the brand, we pitch Proper Patola as music vis-a-vis television and radio, which base their pitch on the numbers and TRPs. We are putting music at the forefront. The artist is one of the layers of the music.”

When it comes to integrating or recreating music in content, one of the biggest challenges has been licensing. Brands have also faced copyright issues when it came to music integration. “India is a market for dance and music, everyone wants to create and own the piece of content, put their mark on it. Hence licensing was, is and will always be a challenge, but we have come a long way. Another issue is the indifference towards music and that the music always comes last when it comes to production. We always advocate an equal treatment for music. However, now, we have been able to advocate the power of music sync with big production houses, agency and brands. So in that way, we have grown two-fold,” D’cruz added.

While branded content taps into the consumers’ likes, there is a fine line that a creator has to maintain so that the branded content doesn’t look forced. Creative freedom, especially when it comes to recreating the existing song, is also a pressure point for the content creators. D’cruz said that at Sony Music, they work with a clear perspective of keeping audience experience at the forefront, whether it is a general content or branded content. To ensure the seamless integration, Sony Music has undertaken a study ‘India Segmentation Study’, which analyses psychographic and demographic profiling of Indian audiences based on their music consumption patterns.

“In this study, we have various data points that we have created and it focuses on the types of artist we have and the genre we are associated with, so there are multiple parameters on the basis of which we create content. Thus creating a seamless experience for the audience for whom we are creating this content Also, now with digital being so fragmented, it is also about how you market this content and where and who you market this content,” D’cruz said.