Music Industry News Network [06-21-2014]

'Music Matters' - New Study Finds Music Used By Brands Unmanaged, Unmonitored And Under-Funded


Despite the powerful role that music and sound now plays in advertising campaigns, it's a resource that is often unmanaged, unmonitored and under-funded.

This is one of the key findings from a new in-depth study of how brands and their agencies are using music and sound.

Called 'Music Matters' the study, commissioned by soundlounge and McKinlay Consultants, and carried out by marketing consultant Clare Crean, sheds an authoritative light on the role of music and sound in marketing brands and the process of choosing and sourcing music for campaigns. (Download study here:

Previous studies have found that despite sound having almost equal impact to the visual component on viewers, it rarely features in any brand strategy thinking and is dramatically less well funded.* So why are brands allocating such a small proportion of their marketing spend on music and sound when it is so fundamental? And why is the process of finding, selecting and licensing music for campaigns so difficult and stressful?

The study involved in depth interviews with a cross section of nationally known brands, their agencies and music industry experts. There is wide agreement that music and sound is under-valued, despite its key importance, and that the process of acquiring music is often severely under managed.

Says Steve Mullins, Content Director, Brand e biz, 'Music and sound is the poor relation to the visual and verbal aspect of communication probably because there is no one with specific responsibility for it.'

Despite music being a component of advertising for many years now, the whole process of finding music is still very much in its infancy. 'It's like the wild west,' says Carol Powell, Senior TV Producer at Abbott Mead Vickers. 'There are no hard and fast rules. Anyone can contribute; it's very subjective, very emotional and very personal. It's all just based on instinct.'

But, says Powell, a structured approach to choosing and using music can make the difference. 'People don't like process, they feel it's too clinical, but it's the only way out of the swamp.'

These views are also echoed by Sir John Hegarty, Worldwide Creative Director and Founder of Bartle Bogle Hegarty. 'The study gives me another opportunity to repeat again that we need to slow down and take more time to let our ideas evolve, and get all the ingredients like music exactly right, to create truly inspiring and effective campaigns.'

But as Graham Staplehurst Global Director at Millward Brown points out, brands will probably need to do more research if they want to manage music more effectively. 'Brand managers aren't aware of where sound is causing a problem, or in fact what impact sound is having positive or negative because it's not being monitored."

The report provides a comprehensive set of proposed solutions, which include:

Advertising agencies are likely to be in the best position to manage the creative searching and selection of music.

The licensing (i.e. procurement) is best managed separately by one specialist organisation or an expert in house team, so costs can be better controlled and spiraling costs avoided.

Directors should be asked to provide musical as well as visual references.

Brands should develop a sound strategy that specifies how music and sound should be used across all sonic interfaces.

Brands should ensure that there is one person with sufficient time, resource and expertise to take responsibility for music and sound across the entire organisation.

'We believe the findings of this study will enable brands and their agencies to take some easy steps to ensure that they use music even more effectively and in the process save themselves considerable amounts of time, stress and money.' says CEO and Founder of soundlounge, Ruth Simmons.

The findings, contained in a two part report called Music Matters, are available to download from the Soundlounge website.


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