It’s a bit too close to Creature Comforts for — um — comfort but a nice stage in the evolution of corporate communications all the same. Coca-Cola’s ‘Making of’ last year’s animated TV spot features the v/os of actual ‘happy’ workers.
The music industry starts to work with — not against — Web 2.0.
We’re not entirely surprised to see that four of the music majors — Universal, Sony BMG and Warner — have each quietly negotiated to take small stakes in YouTube as part of the video-and-music-licensing deals they struck shortly before the site’s sale to Google. According to reports in the New York Times, the music companies collectively stand to receive as much as $50 million from the arrangements. These deals should also help shield Google from the dreaded and much mooted copyright-infringement lawsuits — something that rival Yahoo! has admitted prevented them from swooping on YouTube first.
As the article points out, this pre-emptive and cunning action by the record companies to befriend the ‘enemy’ contrasts with their behaviour a few years’ back:
The decision to take a stake in YouTube is a sharp departure from the tack that the record companies took regarding Napster, the pioneering file-swapping service that transformed the industry in 1999. Back then, after the major companies filed suits against Napster, the two sides discussed various settlements that involved the music companies receiving a big equity stake.
The Napter talks, which were led on the industry side by Edgar Bronfman Jr., then the chief of Universal’s then-parent Seagram — eventually broke down [although Bronfman now helms Warner -- the first record company to join forces with YouTube -- so he eventually gained his chops].
The record companies went on to win a series of legal victories that ultimately forced Napster to shut its site, but the labels have been fighting an uphill battle against free peer-to-peer services ever since.”
As this battle as proved not only extremely expensive but rather ineffectual, the companies have finally decided on a ‘if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em’ approach. Not only have they found a way to actually make money from YouTube, they’ve also finally cottoned on to the marketing potential in file sharing. Techdirt notes with no little schadenfreude an article in the Wall Street Journal(of all places) titled Record Labels turn Piracy into a Marketing Opportunity. Because file-sharers are first and foremost fans of the music they distribute.Hence Jay-Z has allowed distribution of an eight minute clip of his recent live concert — full of promotional clips for Coke. According to Jay-Z’s attorney:
The concept here is making the peer-to-peer network work for us. While peer-to-peer users are stealing the intellectual property, they are also the active music audience… and this technology allows us to market back to them.
We like to call it crowd surfing — using the P2P network as both media and audience. It’s probably the future of music marketing — or at least one future. Watch and learn.
Pepsi has overtaken Coke in value for the first time in 112 years.
The FT reports that shares in PepsiCo have risen 14 percent this year, pushing the company’s stock value to a record high of $98.4bn yesterday. Meanwhile Coca-Cola shares have declined 1.2 percent, reducing the company’s worth to $97.9bn.
Clever Pepsi diversified sometime ago (it bought Frito-Lay way back in the 1970s) – it now generates more than half of its total sales through snacks and less than 20 percent from soft drinks. Coke still relies on soft drinks for more than 80 percent of revenue. Oops.
Somewhat unbelievably, Jack White has agreed to write a song for a Coke ad. Or has he?
The NME quotes the White Stripes’ singer as saying:
I’ve been offered the opportunity to write a song in a way which interests me as a songwriter. I certainly wouldn’t want a song that I’d already written to be used on a commercial. That seems strange.
But to be asked to write something particular along one theme of love in a worldwide form that I’m not really used to appealed to me. I’ve written a song and I wrote it really quickly and it’s an interesting commercial that’s been made. I was inspired by the commercial.
Inspired by the commercial! Now that’s an impressive piece of branded entertainment! And potentially a fascinating precedent for the ad industry: instead of trying to buy artists (à la McDonald’s), inspire them. [BTW, iPod doesn't count -- too much love already!]
Update: the NME has since amended this story: the quote from White has been replaced by ‘an advertising source’ who is quoted as saying that “Coke have been talking to Jack about getting him to write a new song and he’s very interested.”
A band source told NME.COM that White had “been in talks” with Coca-Cola, but insisted he was still considering his options:
He’s been asked to do it and is just deciding whether or not it’s a good idea. White Stripes turned down a Gap advert, so if they did it it’d probably be a case of Jack writing a new song for the commercial.
There is neither a confirmation nor denial on the band’s own site.