The world’s largest music company and the almost-as-large Havas advertising media group has started 2015 with a bang by announcing a “Global Music Data Alliance” that promises to sift through “billions of data points” and both identify new revenue streams for Universal’s music and create better clarity into which artists best match Havas’ brand clients.
The Press Releases and marketing/music magazines are thick with hyperbole over the venture. Once one wades through the descriptions of identifying “new audience trends and segments” and brands “creating deeper experiences” you could easily sum it up as: Universal knows who’s popular, where, and with whom. A look at Havas Media’s previous excursions into matching music to brands with Jessie J and Glaceau Vitamin water and a secret Moby gig at The O2 seem less behavioural insight and more standard online marketing.
Behind the big statements though, is a partnership that makes sense. While agencies have been gathering consumer behavioural data for a long time, their research and understanding of consumer music tastes are woeful. As we described in our recent research study Music Matters, 42% of consumers identify music as important in a product experience while ad agencies allocate 12.5% of their budgets to it. Being able to merge behavioural insight with Universal’s considerable music customer data could indeed create a much better experience on both sides of the TV screen.
There’s a sense in the Press Announcement small print that the GMDA knows this and that their work is just beginning. Dominique Delport, global managing director of Havas Media Group and chairman of Havas Media in France and the UK, captured it well when he said, “There is so much to invent.”
There is also another entrepreneurial interpretation of this partnership. The alliance has been driven by the Bolloré family: Vincent Bolloré is chairman and biggest shareholder of Universal’s parent company, Vivendi. His son Yannick Bolloré is chairman and CEO of Havas, whose biggest shareholder is also the Bollore Group. There has been frequent speculation that Mr. Bollore hopes to someday combine Havas and Vivendi. It’s easy to speculate that as global media entrepreneurs they may not know what they’ve created but instinctively they know it makes sense.