Brandweek: Dateline Industry Insights Summit

Return to Newsroom

By Marla Matzer Rose - September 17, 2003

Musician Franky Perez and his band rocked their hearts out Tuesday afternoon at the Henry Fonda Theatre in Hollywood to a packed audience. Perez and representatives from his label, Warner Music Group's Lava Records, were there to give respect to some of their most important customers: brand marketers and agency reps who can help break and make up-and-coming acts like Perez.

"We all know this is a troubled industry," Perez shouted out as he wrapped up his miniperformance for the 500 or so attendees of the sixth annual L.A. Office RoadShow, an event aimed at partnering entertainment marketers with corporate America. "But you know what can save it?" Perez asked. "Good fuckin' artists can save it!"

That, and some added exposure from Target, Budweiser or Sears, it seems. Warner was just one of the several major music groups whose executives made impassioned pitches to use their artists in commercials, promotional campaigns and filmed entertainment. The acts being offered up ranged from Elvis (who puts out more albums these days than any live artist) to country superstar Alan Jackson and R&B sensation Usher.

"If we can get the product featured in another part of the store, we can become an impulse item, and our sales increase dramatically," Universal Music Group marketing vp Stephanie Cohen said in her presentation. She added that "while Oreos might be on every mom's shopping list," the new album by her kid's favorite artist may not be.

Many of the executives and music units making their case had "strategic" in their titles. "If you look back five to eight years ago, we didn't have much strategy in this business," BMG vp strategic marketing Kenetta Bailey said. Now, she said, "We need people like you — agencies and brands — to really market our music."

Mitch Litvak, president of event presenter the L.A. Office, said this recognition on the part of music marketers along with a hunger for music promotions on the part of brands has driven an explosion in interest in music at the RoadShow event. The conference continues today and Thursday, focusing on the more established promotional vehicles of television and film.

In his keynote address, Jonathan McHugh, president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Recording Academy and vp creative development at Jive Records, said music marketing is at a "critical juncture."

"The future success of the music business is predicated on how we retrain young consumers that music has value and songs should not be given away and traded like Yu-Gi-Oh! cards," said McHugh, who went on to give examples of how marketing is key to this goal.