Brands Urged to Engage Music Fans on SocNets

Music is playing such a critical role on fast-growing social networks that brand owners can no longer ignore it for brand-awareness strategies, says a new report by Heartbeats International, the Sweden-based international marketing agency.

Called “Social Music Revolution,” the report was unveiled at the Eurobest advertising festival in Amsterdam this week. It follows “Sounds Like Branding,” Heartbeats’ survey on branded music projects published early this year.

The new report examines the role of music in social media and how brand owners can adopt recorded and live music to reach young audiences that have stopped using traditional media.

It analyzes several international studies by firms like SIFO Institute, Entertainment Media Research and Millward Brown and concludes: “The same digital technology that changed the music industry is changing advertising as we know it.”

It finds that, on average, consumers listen to music on five different platforms, including mobile handsets and PCs.

Moreover, “two out of five social networkers have music embedded in their personal profile.” And the number of hours spent listening to music per day is growing.

“We want to open up more marketers’ eyes to the massive impact that music has on these networks,” the report’s author, Heartbeats’ CEO, founder Jakob Lusensky, told Billboard. “There are definitely differences depending on the market and culture. But the digitalization and increased usage of mobile phones, iPod/MP3 players and the Internet [in the developed world] have created a situation where more people then ever easily have access to more music then ever before.”

As services like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and alone gain more than 500 million users, they are reaching consumers on a scale global marketers crave.

Even the 140-character text limitation on Twitter has not stopped the service from making music sharing possible via add-on services such as imeem, Twittytunes and

Heartbeats’ report advises advertisers to work with the music industry on social network platforms by adopting the new marketing principles of the four Es (emotion, experience, engagement and exclusivity) — as opposed to the traditional four Ps (price, product, placement and promotion).

Brands should also consider three types of strategies, the report continues. The “Association” strategy centers on connecting artists to audiences. An example is Bacardi rum’s collaboration with dance act Groove Armada earlier this year.

The “Involvement” strategy advocates co-creating to encourage fans to interact with music, such as remix competitions using legally licensed hits. Computer chip giant Intel worked with media-buying agency Universal McCann on its Intel Powers Music social-network campaign in Europe last year. The campaign resulted in 19,000 bands and performers adding Intel as a friend on their MySpace page.

The “Exploration” strategy offers music discovery platforms and introduces fans to new music. Duracell, the batteries manufactured by consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble, has set up Scandinavia-based music-sharing Web site Ramp Music.

See also:

“MySpace Music Video Hub Fuses Sound and Vision”

“Google Bows New Music Search Service”

“DJ Hero Puts Jay-Z, Eminem in Spotlight”

Nielsen Business Media