Monthly Archives: September 2014

Why Led Zeppelin, Billy Joel and Dylan Now Readily Sell Their Songs to Brands

Easy money, new audience appeal to classic rockers

By Andrew McMains
September 22, 2014

Led Zeppelin performing in Copenhagen, Denmark on February 28, 1970. | Photo: Getty Images

When Led Zeppelin licensed “Rock and Roll” to Cadillac for its Break Throughspot in 2002, it was a huge coup for the carmaker, as the band had never let a marketer use one of its songs before. Fast-forward to 2014 and the group has licensed two songs—to Activision and Dior Homme—in just 12 months.

Similarly, other classic rockers with boomer appeal, including Billy Joel and Bob Dylan, are now liberally licensing songs to marketers after decades of holding out, and there’s even talk of Prince following suit. And while such longtime holdouts remain picky about the brands they deal with, clearly any philosophical barrier around “selling out” has been shattered.

The simple reason is that there’s big money to be made as traditional sources of revenue have dried up. In short, music sales are down, MTV has abandoned videos and radio is dominated by a handful of mega-pop stars. So, particularly for nontouring bands like Zeppelin, advertising has become a welcome cash cow. “Advertising has become the new MTV in a lot of ways for artists, bands to get their music out there and actually get paid for it,” explained Paul Greco, JWT’s director of music and radio.

Depending on the popularity of a song and how long it’s used, the payday ranges from tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to more than $1 million for the most coveted songs from the biggest names, including The Beatles (whose “Revolution” cost Nike $500,000 way back in 1987), per agency music directors.

For big acts like Zeppelin, “it has got to be a big money deal. Otherwise they don’t do it,” said Josh Rabinowitz, director of music at Grey.

Beyond cash grabbing, licensing deals introduce old music to younger generations, thereby expanding a band’s audience for music and ticket sales. “Obviously, they’re making money, but it’s also putting [songs] back out there for a new audience,” said Melissa Chester, an executive music producer at BBDO. “It’s next-gen, and they don’t want to be out of it.”

Finally, there’s transactional appeal, as ad placements can cross-promote the launch of a tour or rerelease of classic albums, as Zeppelin is doing now. The graphic above takes a closer look at three recent deals.

Top 40 Musical Universities in America: How Students Listen

SpotifySpotify Insights

September 16th, 2014 by 


(interactive map)

This fall, millions of students are settling in at the universities where they’ll study, socialize, and prepare for their futures — and that includes discovering music they’ll listen to for the rest of their lives.

Maybe it’s all the fresh sounds encountered just as they’re learning new things and working out who they are, but for whatever reason, people tend to establish their music taste at college, and for that matter, during the adolescent to young adult years. The classic rock girl might discover vintage jazz, or the EDM enthusiast gravitate towards hip-hop, and everyone is exposed to lots of new music, no matter where they’re coming from.

Music accompanies much of the studying, socializing, and just about everything else that goes on at universities, so we wondered: Which are the most musical universities? And what does each of those schools listen to?

We found the schools whose students signed up for our student deal at the highest rates last semester, because that plan appeals to students who love music. Then, we ranked the schools where these listeners played the most songs, because people who love music listen a lot: (more…)

Without a keyboard

Seth’s Blog

When the masses only connect to the net without a keyboard, who will be left to change the world?

It is possible but unlikely that someone will write a great novel on a tablet.

You can’t create the spreadsheet that changes an industry on a smart phone.

And professional programmers don’t sit down to do their programming with a swipe.

Many people are quietly giving away one of the most powerful tools ever created—the ability to craft and spread revolutionary ideas. Coding, writing, persuading, calculating—they still matter. Yes, of course the media that’s being created on the spot, the live, the intuitive, this matters. But that doesn’t mean we don’t desperately need people like you to dig in and type.

The trendy thing to do is say that whatever technology and the masses want must be a good thing. But sometimes, what technology wants isn’t what’s going to change our lives for the better.

The public square is more public than ever, but minds are rarely changed in 140 character bursts and by selfies.

Posted by Seth Godin on September 14, 2014

Hollywood’s Old-Time Star Makers Are Swooping In on YouTube’s Party


SEPT. 15, 2014

LOS ANGELES — A few months ago, CBS Films wanted Bethany Mota, an 18-year-old video blogger, to make a cameo appearance in the movie “The Duff” and tell her 7.2 million YouTube followers about the experience. CBS figured that Ms. Mota, known for making fashion videos from her Los Banos, Calif., bedroom, would jump at the chance.

Her response: Talk to my team.

Ms. Mota, as the studio discovered, is now encircled by a Hollywood talent agency — United Talent — and lawyer, not to mention two publicists. The representatives came back with a $250,000 fee, according to a person involved, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. CBS’s jaw fell open.

Continue reading the main storyA video by Ms. Mota on hairstyles for the new school year generated more than four million views on YouTube in a few weeks.

The star-making system of the future, it turns out, needs the star-making system of the past — or at least a swarm of agents and managers has decided it does: The middle men and women have arrived, eroding YouTube’s status as the quintessential do-it-yourself enterprise. (more…)

Scotland Independence: What Happens to the BBC?


bbc logoSEPTEMBER 11, 2014

As Scots prepare to vote in the independence referendum on Sept. 18, and an independent Scotland looks increasingly possible, people in the TV business are asking: If Scotland votes yes, what happens to one of the U.K.’s most globally revered institutions, the BBC?

“If there is a yes vote the BBC won’t work anymore,” said Glasgow-based producer John Archer, whose company Hopscotch Films made the Peabody Award-winning series “The Story of Film.” He adds that after the question of what happens with the currency, the BBC is the biggest issue facing a yes vote.

“No one has got an answer to how it would operate if Scots vote for independence,” he said. “I’d be happy to pay a subscription to watch BBC channels but that in itself would open up a massive can of worms.” (more…)

Backstage with the real stars of DigiTour



By Audra Schroeder on August 31st, 2014

The sound of a thousand screaming teenage girls is an intense experience. On a Saturday afternoon in late August, at the Vic Theatre in Chicago, this sound fills the old venue like an ecstatic choir, coming in heaves. What starts as an individual scream quickly becomes a hive. It’s the sound of existence.

This screaming mass is here for DigiTour, a variety show of sorts for teen social media stars, which offers “in real life” social media experiences “for Generation Z and millennial audiences.” The Vic, a 1,300-capacity venue, has been sold out for a month. Earlier, a nasty thunderstorm dumped the heavens on Chicago, so the crowd is freshly baptized, soaked hair and handmade fan T-shirts illuminated by the stage lights.


The fans are here to see Jack and Jack, the duo of 17-year-olds Jack Johnson and Jack Gilinsky, who have become one of the most popular acts on six-second video app Vine. There has already been fainting before the show starts. Parents sit and endure, piled with mountains of their daughters’ colorful merch. When the lights go out and Jack and Jack appear on stage, girls hug each other, cry, fan their faces as they hyperventilate. It’s an old rapture, updated for a new generation. (more…)

Young people more likely to turn to YouTube for music than Spotify or Soundcloud


29 AUGUST 2014

Young people more likely to turn to YouTube for music than Spotify or Soundcloud
Young people more likely to turn to YouTube for music than Spotify or

Over three quarters (83 per cent) of 16-24 year olds use YouTube as a music platform rather than a video platform, research from youth insights consultancy Voxburner has found.

Just over half of respondents (56 per cent) said they used iTunes or the radio to listen to music, while 48 per cent use Spotify and 25 per cent use Soundcloud.

Streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora act as the main way which young people learn about new music, with 56 per cent agreeing to doing this, while 49 per cent will use Facebook for music discovery, and 42 per cent turn to websites.

Mark Adams, music director at Box TV, said: “These numbers support an ever-growing movement towards digital music consumption for both music video and audio.  Unsurprisingly media companies are already embracing this shift and investing hugely in their digital products, companies like Spotify and YouTube are delivering immediate access to music but do the numbers here suggest that this is having a huge impact on music sales? I think yes, but this is counteracted by a sharp increase in streams (now included in the top 40 – at last!)” (more…)

Mexico is undergoing a streaming music revolution

Music Week

by Tim Ingham
Thursday, Aug 28th 2014

Revenues generated by streaming music services in Mexico have exploded in the past 12 months – up a staggering 130% year-on-year in the first half of 2014.

Mexico is undergoing a streaming music revolution
According to new figures from the Mexican Association of Phonographic Producers (Amprofon), analysed by Music Week, income to the local record industry from streaming services more than doubled to around 175 million Pesos (£8.0 million) in the six months to June 30.

That was enough to claim a 41% share of total digital music sales, which were up 14% on H1 2013, pulling in 428 million Pesos (£19.7m) overall.

Streaming services legally available in the territory include Spotify, Deezer and Rdio. (more…)


Nielsen Logo

Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Drake, Selena Gomez, Janelle Monáe—many of the artists on the charts today are young and multicultural, just like their fans.

Millennials are more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous generation in the U.S.—40 percent identify as African-AmericanAsian-American or Hispanic. This young and diverse generation makes up 24 percent of the country’s overall population (the same as Baby Boomers), and their spending power is growing. That’s good news for industries they favor, like music. Multicultural consumers spend, on average, $7 more on music than the total market, accounting for 31 percent of total spending on music.

So who are these Millennial Multicultural music listeners? (more…)

Millennials And Their Love Of Music

Next Big Sound

Knowledge to Navigate the Modern Music Industry

SEP 03 2014


If you were to google the term “Millennial,” you’ll find a fitting quote in the listed definition: “The industry brims with theories on what makes millennials tick.” And this for good reason.

The generation of young adults known as millennials – typically defined as those born between 1980 and 1996 – are on course to be leading the US work force in just a few short years. Millennials have different habits than previous generations, both in terms of spending, consumption, and expectations. While they (or should I say we) have a higher level of education, we also have a higher level of student debt, and less wealth to our names.

Millennials may not have the strongest purchasing power at present, but building brand loyalty with this particular consumer is an opportunity that could prove valuable for decades to come. For all these reasons and more, innumerable attempts have been made to define the millennial and understand what makes their (our) collective clocks tick. And while this continues to pose a challenge to any marketer worth their salt – it is probably one of the most diverse generations to date, and many even strongly disagree with the characterization of “millennial” itself – there is one indisputable fact that should help: Music. We all love music. And we are interacting with music and artists in a very different, yet concretely measurable manner. (more…)