It’s funny how the marketplace sorts itself out – the net result of this activity isn’t all that dfferent from what we’ve seen for the last few years: free music via the Internet.
- The great digital music giveaway is about to begin. In the new year, some of the world’s biggest brands will promote their products and services by doling out millions of free downloads through alliances with digital music services.
“You’re going to see lots of free music given out via third-party companies,” buymusic.com founder Scott Blum says. “It’s not going to be Apple and iTunes driving the business. It’s going to be companies like Pepsi and other third parties that are promoting digital music on bottle caps and on labels.”
Indeed, Apple Computer has inked a deal with Pepsi to give away 100 million iTunes downloads in a promotion that kicks off in February with a Super Bowl ad.
And Miller Brewing will give away thousands of Napster-branded digital music players and downloads next summer as part of a new marketing alliance between the beer maker and Napster parent Roxio.
Other beverage suppliers, MP3 player manufacturers, airlines and credit card companies also are looking to get in on the act. Even fast food giant McDonald’s confirms it has discussed marketing possibilities with a number of online music distributors.
The promotions come at a time when brand marketers, particularly beverage companies, are looking to establish broad connections between music and their products — a strategy well-served by digital music giveaways.
Music giveaways are understood to foster customer loyalty. What’s more, they provide consumers with powerful incentives to use the related products, executives say.
The trend has major implications for the nascent digital music business.
Campaigns from Pepsi, Miller and others can educate consumers about online music in a way that is outside the scope of most digital music companies, Apple aside.
Quite simply, brand marketers have much bigger coffers to devote to marketing and promotion than upstart Web firms. [Billboard]
It makes sense for everyone, but it also reinforces in the public’s mind that music over the Internet should be free. That’s going to be a very difficult mindset to break.