Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The real big spenders in the music business

It’s a busy Christmas for streaming services and accessory manufacturers when it comes to advertising

What will be replacing the CD box-set under many trees the week after next

Fri, Dec 13, 2013, 09:20


It will not have escaped your attention that Christmas is coming down the tracks. The annual orgy of consumerism makes cash tills ring with greater gusto than at any other time of the year, as retailers aim to get in enough money to see them through the bleak months of January and February.

For the music industry, this is peak revenue season. Since the summer, the marketing and promotional campaigns have been in place to flog the year’s big albums and seasonal specials by all means necessary. It’s when labels make their cash based on albums by such blockbuster names as One Direction, Robbie Williams, Kings Of Leon, Queens of the Stone Age and any other recognisable name who released something in 2013.

But the biggest music-based marketing and advertising campaign underway of late in Ireland and elsewhere has come from Spotify. The giant streaming service marked the first anniversary of its arrival in Ireland with a widespread billboard and bus shelter campaign.

Elsewhere, Beats By Dre is spending some of its cash reserves – quite a deal of which goes through a tax base located in an accountant’s office in Clonakilty, Co Cork – on double-page ads in the New York Times flogging their headphones and soon-come curated music streaming service .

It’s telling that streaming services and accessory manufacturers are responsible for so much advertising spend. They’re the ones with the cash flow (or investment capital in the case of Spotify) and, like any growing business, they want to attract more customers.

The record labels, it seems, can’t compete on the same terms and will be relying on habit, routine and tradition to get them over the line. But this may well be the Christmas when CD box sets are replaced under the tree by Spotify vouchers.