American Express

American Express Unstaged: using storytelling to transform online music

Brands and musicians have an uneasy alliance. For every generation defining Michael Jackson and Pepsi coupling, there’s a whincingly regretful pairing of Iggy Pop and Swiftcover.

In the last few years, more and more recording artists are hooking-up with large brands in order to reach a wider audience and make up for dwindling record sales, and it seems brands are much more willing to invest in the music industry lately, especially in terms of live music and event creation.

American Express has recently linked many different media strands together, including live music, online streaming, social video and social media,  to create Unstaged, a channel that caters for an online, music hungry audience while offering effective brand promotion.

Let’s take a look at the ways American Express Unstaged brings the offline, online with storytelling.

How brands are spending money on digital in the music industry

There was an increase of almost 17% in brand spending on digital within the music industry last year, compared to 2011.

Brands including Coca Cola, O2, Blackberry and Volkswagen spent a record breaking £100m in total on music in 2012, a 6% rise on 2011. This is according to the latest research from PRS for Music, the copyright collection society.

The area that’s seen the biggest increase, with a 33% rise in spending, is artist endorsement.

This may come as a surprise to some, depending on where your ideologies lie in terms of artistic integrity, however with increasingly evaporating record sales, artists who once comfortably filled out stadiums night after night are now turning to brand sponsorship to maintain the lifestyles they’ve become accustomed to.

For instance Jay Z recently made a deal with Samsung to release his latest album exclusively via its mobile devices.

The next up and coming trend in terms of spending however is digital. Digital is showing an increased rise in spending, far more than live music sponsorship (-5.6%), TV (+1%) and advertising support (+9.5%). 

How are brands spending their money on digital in the music industry? Here are some recent examples:

American Express syncs with Twitter. Gimmick or new social commerce platform?

Strides in social commerce have been made with Facebook and Pinterest but, until today, brands and ecommerce specialists haven’t been able to crack the code when it came to Twitter.

American Express and Twitter have announced they are joining forces by allowing members to sync their Amex cards with their Twitter accounts and then tweet special hashtags to make purchases.

This is not the first foray into connecting American Express member cards with social networks. They have focused on the interconnection with commerce and social since it launched its Link Like Love program with Facebook in 2011 and they have been promoting Twitter deals since last year.

But is this Twitter partnership just another gimmick or something more?

Your social media initiatives might be pointless if…

Social media, as a channel, is hard to hate, and despite the fact that companies are still grappling with ROI, brands continue to pour larger and larger sums into social media initiatives and industry observers continue to show the same interest in highlighting and analyzing them as they did when social media first started to go mainstream.

But don’t let any of this fool you. Investment and attention don’t mean that social media initiatives are effective, or serve a useful purpose. In fact, many of them are arguably downright pointless.