Recently, the Danish music industry was granted 9.4 million kroner (1.26 million euros) by the Ministry of Commerce to develop music talent, export, insight, technology solutions, and new business models. As a business professional with a strong music association, I applaud this.
Indeed, one of the major challenges is bridging the gap between the music community and the business community. There is a lot of potential for brands and artists to use each other to develop their respective identities and relationship with their users (fans). So far, though, neither camp seem to understand the other particularly well.
Brands - and often their agencies - treat music as a tactical add-on at best. The artists - and often their record companies and managers - treat brands as a sponsor, rarely as a collaborator, and sometimes just as a wallet.
Brands need to learn how to leverage music strategically, as a powerful dimension and a path to a strong(er) emotional bond between them and their users. Artists need to learn what's on a busy marketing director's agenda, what s/he considers success criteria, and why music often simply isn't a priority. Both need to learn how to create great fits, and also recognize when there is no fit at all.
A coordinating body, Musikzonen (the Music Zone), has been established to manage the 9.4 million kroner from the Ministry of Commerce and facilitate the most effective use of this money. And today, they hosted a kick-off conference to introduce the Musikzonen initiative and provide some inspiration to cross-disciplinary and commercial partnerships. A great conference, and a great idea. Only, the audience was all music industry folks. Apart from one of the co-speakers and me, there was no one from the business community, no consumer experience manager, no brand director, no ad agency executive. The Musikzonen board informed that they'd received a lot of interest from the business community about the overall initiative. Excellent, but then why weren't they there?
And why wasn't one of the speakers a grumpy marketing manager with no interest whatsoever in music but with a desire to look good in front of senior management, hence thinking only of hard KPIs that prove ROI down to the penny? These are the folks that ultimately need to be influenced, if the aforementioned gap is to be bridged.
There's a lot to be said - and done - about the relationship between brands and bands (and fans). The relationship between culture and commerce, between mainstream and new stream. I look forward to the conversation.