Music and advertising have always been inseparable. For years, advertisers rely on hit songs to highlight a product. Classical, jazz or pop-based popular songs and music were reused in advertisements for decades.
In fact, some songs have only gained recognition through their presence in advertisements. Amr Diab’s Ya Ana Ya Laa (Me Alone Or No one Else) with music by Mohamad Yehya was first released for a Pepsi advert.
Enta Meen (Who Are You?) or Enta Estesnaey (You Are Unique) by Bahaa Sultan and Mahmoud El-Esseily, with music by the latter, was launched for Banque Misr's advertising campaign. Launched in April 2020 the ad scored almost 30 million views on YouTube.
The same goes for Mohamad Ramadan's song Number One, written by Kanka and Shendy, composed by the latter was released for an advertisement for the telecommunications company Etisalat.
Ads are one of the visual marketing tools that make fans want to learn more about what their favorite singers have to offer. The quality of the music video is also of paramount importance.
Radwa Kamel, Co-Founder of Advertising Agency Marope - that specialises in digital marketing - emphasises that good publicity should be beneficial for the artist and for the product one seeks to market.
"But what is good publicity?" Kamel comments to Al-Ahram Hebdo that the good advertisement is "where the images showcase a product that fits the image of the star: Etisalat for example, targets customers from different social classes. Thus, it was normal to feature Mohamed Mounir or Mohamad Ramadan in their ads. In addition, the visibility of the song on different media including TV, brings the song closer to the listeners.”
Kamel claims that all large companies have mega-accounts on social networks, which further encourage singers to agree to advertise them, in order to have access to the largest possible number of clients.
Music and the digital world
Back in the day, producers and distributors thought that the music album had to be flawless. This is no longer the case with the streaming market today.
“Consumer habits have changed a lot and digital technologies now allow us to attract precisely the audience we want,” Kamel explains adding that, “publicising the works of an artist or a band can only be done by sharing them as much as possible on social networks.”
Just launching a few videos on YouTube or its website is not enough. You must also be present on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. as well as any streaming platform such as Deezer, Google Play Music, Spotify or Anghami. It is thus normal to see singers like Mohamed Fouad or Mohamed Mounir launch their new singles on these different social networks, before releasing their entire albums.
The idea is to make their potential fans want to know a little more and desire listening to their favourite singers.
“You have to create Facebook, Twitter and YouTube banners and post on your Facebook page or Instagram. In addition, all these mediums must present the same visuals and the same content. In other words, the public should have the same information, no matter what medium they visit,” explained Kamel.
Thus, when it is necessary to share important information or news, it is important to harmonise all media.
But would these titles have entered the collective memory without the help of those platforms?
Be the best in your "musical niche"
“The music market is evolving and turning massively towards music streaming. This mode of consumption is growing globally but also locally,” said Content Promotion Manager in Egypt and North Africa at Anghami, Reem Tarek.
“Launched in Egypt in 2015 - before all other platforms - Anghami became number one in the region. What sets it apart from the rest is the fact that it is an Arabic platform whose founders are Lebanese. Identity is an essential vector that allows us to fully understand the choices of our customers,” Tarek said referring to competing platforms such as Deezer, which is French, and the Swedish Spotify.
How do these platforms work?
“Whether it's a free or paid version, the platform makes money initially thanks to the ads that appear between the content segments. There is also the monthly subscription,” she adds. Thus, the more the song is listened to, the more the artist is paid, etc.
“Some aspiring singers have seen their platform subscribers skyrocket thanks to good playlist placement. In the end, it was the playlists that gave them the visibility that they failed to obtain through interviews," she continued her analysis.
Offering your music to playlist makers has become a fundamental aspect of new sound marketing strategies. Each genre has its own playlist. And being present on several playlists, as long as compatibility is respected, allows more visibility.
"A simple click on a singer's name allows you to constantly discover new songs. In addition, we offer our artists, whether they are singers or composers, different offers so as to be able to attract the listeners,” Tarek concludes.
While the trick lies in properly determining the niche, we need to understand what the musical niche means exactly.
It is simply a term that indicates a specialised market. Each artist-creator of playlist must know the characteristics of his musical niche. Indeed, it is necessary to have certain data such as the age category of your fans, as well as their consumption habits.
“It is especially young people who often use platforms to listen to music or to download [it]. These platforms are aimed generally at all music lovers and have succeeded in capturing the attention of a young audience, lovers of new technologies and who are ultra-connected,” explained Producer and Distributor expert in the field, Sameh Morcos.
As follows artists and creators of streaming platforms see a common interest in it. According to Morcos, major labels have signed copyright contracts for the works released, allowing the company to broadcast millions of titles, enough to satisfy a large number of users in order to get them to opt for the paid subscription. The user or subscriber of Spotify or any other platform seeks primarily to listen to music, while discovering new titles or artists, according to their musical tastes.
“Older people tend to use YouTube or Facebook pages to listen to their favorite singers,” Morcos said adding that one of the observations is that in two weeks, the new single by Ali El-haggar titled Law Ayez (If You Want) made 21,000 views on YouTube, while on Spotify, it made less than 1,000.
Similarly, Btensa (You Forget), the new song by Hany Shaker released a month ago, has made 682,000 views on YouTube, compared to 10,000 plays on Spotify.
However, the number of views for songs by trendy rappers like Wegz and Shahin on Spotify exceeds in what was launched on YouTube a month ago. The age group of the fans, as well as their preferences certainly matter a lot. The goal is to be the best in your musical niche, in order to gain the support of the fans.
Can those new sound marketing strategies replace traditional ones?
"Without a doubt,” Morcos concluded. “And it is especially digital marketing that will take over. It is an essential alternative, which allows the distribution of musical productions to the whole world in just a few clicks.”
*This article was originally published in Al Ahram Hebdo, in French, 3 January 2021 edition. Additional edit: Ahram Online.
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