Coca-Cola: Our Next Major Label?

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Lady Gaga needed Interscope to blow her up worldwide, and manager Troy Carter isn’t confused about the benefits of a major label relationship.

But who’s gonna blow up artists tomorrow, at least to these same heights?

Well, the answer may be no one, and who really cares?  Music fans aren’t begging for ‘global success stories,’ and there’s no shortage of new music.  But that doesn’t mean that corporations and major brands aren’t looking at this very interesting void.

Look no further than Coca-Cola Music, which is kicking off later this month with a major Maroon 5 crowdsourcing collaboration called ’24hr Session’.  On March 22nd, Maroon 5 will be riffing at a recording studio in London, and over a 24 hour period, they’ll be incorporating user suggestions to create a song.

Sure, Coke has been tapping into music’s deep emotional tugstrings for some time, but things are now getting ramped to an entirely new level.  Daft Punk is getting branded onto bottles, artists are writing custom-tailored Coke Christmas jingles, and the Maroon 5 partnership is going far beyond the traditional campaign. “This is the most ambitious and experimental effort in music Coca-Cola has ever undertaken,” Joe Belliotti, Coca-Cola director of Global Entertainment Marketing recently told AdAge.  In fact, ’24hour Session’ will be spread across 20 different markets.

Sure, crowdsourcing is often a great way to acheive lameness, but that’s not the point – this is a way for Coke to engage lots of younger users, and push towards its very aggressive revenue and penetration goals.   And these are extremely aggressive goals, especially as they relate to the teenage demographic.  As part of ‘2020 Vision,’ Coke wants to double revenues over the next 9 years, and push annual servings past 3 billion.

Sounds incredibly ambitious, though the real question is whether Coke – or other massive brands – decide to truly develop and invest in new musical talent.  In other words, function like a major label.  The advertising community certainly ‘gets’ music, but does that mean they want to make music, and promote that music?  If that’s what it takes to pour extra billions, the answer is yes.