The music industry is well known for their creative and innovative use of advertising to promote artists as well as new albums and song releases. It seems that with the ongoing pandemic and lockdowns people are listening to music more than ever, giving artists the perfect opportunity to promote themselves. With huge companies that have entered the music industry in the past decade such as Apple, Spotify, and Amazon, it has become quite apparent that the industry is continuing to grow at a faster rate than ever. OOH is the perfect medium for showcasing new advertising campaigns as it allows artists to reach a wide audience and choose the best locations to do so. By placing OOH ads in target areas such as busy intersections, subway stations, and majorly populated zones such as Times Square, artists are able to target the right demographics at the right time. To captivate an audience, billboards, posters, and truck-side ads should be creative and provide an engaging or witty message that is able to catch passersby’s attention. This article will demonstrate why OOH is the perfect advertising medium for those in the music industry as well as provide some exciting examples of current and previous advertising campaigns that have had major success.
The Growing Music Industry
The music industry is a twenty billion dollar market that keeps growing consistently. With smartphones, smart speakers, and wireless headphones it is now easier to listen to music than ever before. Apps such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon make it fun and exciting to download new playlists or find new songs. These innovations have expanded the music industry to new lengths over the last decade. Even during the Covid pandemic, revenues have continued to increase. Last year the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry released statistics to highlight how rapidly the industry is growing. Currently, streaming revenue is definitely the largest market as it is convenient and accessible with the use of a smartphone or smart device. Streaming revenue increased by 34% and accounts for nearly half of the total global revenue. With over 341 million global paid streaming accounts, it’s no wonder that the music industry is rapidly growing as more and more people realize the convenience of being able to stream music anywhere, anytime.
By looking at the Recording Industry Association of America’s report for 2020, it is interesting to see that there has been a 5.6% increase in recorded music revenues. Streaming music that had advertising revenues, such as YouTube, grew 3% yearly over the last decade, reaching $421 million in the first half of 2020. RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier stated that, “These are historically difficult times: the live music sector is shut down; studio recording is limited; and millions of Americans are out of work across the broader economy. While we’re pleased that the years of hard work and resources we’ve invested in streaming are driving growth in paid subscriptions, today’s report demonstrates just how much work remains to achieve a sustainably healthy music ecosystem for both music creators and fans.” These are just a few statistics to demonstrate the rapidly growing music industry and why it is important for any artist or producer to advertise to get the biggest return on investment.
How OOH Reaches Listeners
With the many creative ways that OOH can be used, from augmented reality, to digital billboards, it’s no wonder why the music industry continues to use OOH advertising to promote music subscription apps, artists, and new releases. WARC, a marketing company, stated that digital OOH is expected to grow 10% per year between 2018 and 2021. With new technology such as 5G and virtual reality, OOH is no longer just traditional billboards, since ad campaigns have become more innovative than ever. Furthermore, it’s almost impossible to ignore an OOH ad, as stated by Tim Ringel, the global CEO of Reprise Digital, “We don’t consume [traditional mediums] consciously anymore because the moment a TV ad comes on, we are on our phone. It’s different with many OOH formats where, if you’re really creative, you can’t really escape that bus stop. You can’t really escape that subway station.”
OOH advertising allows the use of endless creativity to engage with fans worldwide and here are a few examples to showcase that. Musicians are able to tease fans with new releases using OOH advertising through mysterious messages to catch the attention of fans and get them talking on social media. Furthermore, streaming subscription services such as Apple Music collaborate with famous artists to create even more widespread media attention. Other companies such as Spotify collect user data including top played songs and most listened to artists and then use that information to create effective marketing campaigns. These are just a few of the many ways that companies and artists are using OOH to captivate their audience and boost brand awareness.
With another year coming to an end, Spotify has once again released their annual ‘Wrapped’ advertising campaign. The yearly campaign consists of a wide variety of billboards that utilize user data to showcase different top artists of the year, most listened to songs, and most downloaded playlists. The campaign features 40 artists,15 podcasts, and runs in 31 markets worldwide. This year is a little different as the theme of Spotify’s campaign is gratitude and resilience, which highlights the artists, podcast creators, and listeners that kept the community entertained and informed during the pandemic. By creating messages such as, “Thank you, Atlanta, for showing everyone the bigger picture this year”, and, “Thank you for soundtracking the city, this year and forever”, Spotify was able to reach a mass audience with messages of hope and gratitude to artists and listeners alike. Dan Brill, global group creative director at Spotify, stated that, “Instead of turning our backs on 2020, we wanted to give our appreciation for those who gave us hope—the people who, despite challenging circumstances, found ways to infuse magic into our world and give us hope for a better tomorrow.” The importance of engaging with an audience during the pandemic is huge, and Spotify was able to accomplish just that by changing their campaign this year to one of appreciation and recognition rather than just pure entertainment.
Apple ‘Shot on IPhone’
Apple is known for their innovative products including those that have greatly impacted the music industry. From iPods, to Airpods, to Apple Music, the company has always been ahead of the game when it comes to expanding and reinventing the music industry. During the summer festival season last year, Apple created an OOH ad campaign called ‘Shot on iPhone’ which featured billboards of 16 different musicians. The black and white images were all shot on iPhones by famous music photographers, showcasing the artists in a personal perspective to demonstrate what it feels and looks like from an artist’s point of view to be both on and off stage. By capturing the unique and authentic emotions of each artist from a wide variety of angles, this campaign was a success as passersby could see their favorite artists in their most intimate moments. This campaign was innovative because it not only showcased the talents of musicians, but also demonstrated the amazing iPhone camera quality. As a result, viewers would be compelled to listen to the artists and buy the new iPhone all at once.
Drake’s ‘The 6 is Watching’
The famous Canadian rapper named Drake, created an OOH advertising campaign called ‘The 6 is Watching’. The billboard was erected beside Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway and featured a simple image of praying hands and the message, “The 6 is Watching”. The billboard didn’t even feature Drake or his name, but drivers instantly recognized it to be his as he often refers to Toronto as “The 6”. The campaign captured the attention of a huge audience with more than 86 million impressions over the span of 28 days. This was perhaps the most viral billboard in history because of its simplicity. Fans instantly wanted to know more and went on social media to discuss what the message behind the billboard could mean. Eventually fans realized that this probably meant that his new album, ‘Views’, would be released soon. The billboard was successful because it got viewers wondering about the meaning behind the message, thus creating an extremely high level of consumer engagement and awareness all over social media.
Even as the pandemic continues, music sales are still rising as people look to the music industry for a sense of normalcy in their lives. Especially as the year comes to a close and the holiday season is upon us, people are listening to music more than ever. By including creative images and messages in your OOH ad campaign, you will surely be able to captivate your target audience. Furthermore, location is key when placing such ads and should be taken into consideration when figuring out which areas would have the best demographics for your particular ad campaign. As the music industry continues to grow, investing in OOH advertising would be a smart choice for any artist looking to promote their image, a new album, or new song releases for years to come.