2009: Trends in Music Branding

Adweek asked some experts in the field which trends were hot this year as popular music and brand-building become increasingly intertwined.

“The biggest trend was the commissioning of original music by brands, be it the Kanye West 25th anniversary Air Jordan deal or the Estelle Crystal Light deal. More and more brands are not necessarily only looking to license music but looking to collaborate with artists to make original music.” —Doug Scott, president of Ogilvy Entertainment

“The biggest trend was the use of social networking: Artists are being discovered and in turn working with brands. Bands are also becoming popular well before they get a label deal. If a band has an online following of a few hundred thousand fans, it is like a focus group. With the whole music business changing, artists are looking to our industry more than ever, and beyond that 30-second spot, bands can synergize with our brands like never before. (Via Web films, behind the scene’s footage, additional songs, product giveaways, contests, etc.)” —Mike Boris, svp/executive music producer at McCann Erickson

“The most notable branding initiative in the music space to me has been Apple’s non-use of cool songs in their TV ads — notable because Apple’s use of such songs was the talk of the town in the ad-music continuum for the last few years, and no brands have successfully filled that vacuum in 09. Apple has recently and effectively used underscores with voiceovers to sell their iPhones and iPhone Apps, utilizing music that’s unique in it’s overuse of an acoustic guitar and glockenspiel instrumental combo — a sound that many in my field many would say/complain is the ‘Apple Sound’ that other clients requested a bunch this past year for their own underscores.” —Josh Rabinowitz, svp, director of music at Grey Worldwide

See also: “Sweet Harmony for Brands, Musicians”