Why soundtracking your brand will help the business to grow
Ola Sars was just named to Billboard’s prestigious 2021 International Power Players list. The founder and CEO of Soundtrack Your Brand, the world-leading music streaming service for businesses, shares why music should be front and center of every brand’s design strategy.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
April 28, 2021
The company originates from Sars’ previous venture Spotify Business, which he co-founded with Spotify in order to take music streaming into the business market. Before that, he was the co-founder and COO of Beats Music, which was acquired by Apple and transformed into Apple Music, and a co-founder of Pacemaker, the world’s first DJ-driven music platform.
Soundtrack Your Brand, he tells, provides an all-in-one solution for streaming music in stores, hotels, restaurants, and other commercial settings to business owners in 75 markets.
— We have architected the global business model for B2B-music-streaming, just like Spotify did for the B2C market, Sars explains. We are looking to move the antiquated background music market into the streaming era, which will help bring transparency, compliance, and fair compensation and correct flow-through of royalties to artists and composers when their music is played in venues. We have over 10,000 unique direct deals with labels and publishers worldwide, which enables us to provide businesses with the world’s largest commercial catalog of music. Businesses can jump, skip and replay tracks, as well as create their own playlists and import them, features that were only previously available on B2C services. This means that businesses now can legally access a music solution on par with Spotify or Apple Music when evolving their customer experiences through music.
The global lockdowns, including closed shops and restaurants, made 2020 one of the company’s most challenging years. But even though their whole music-in-venue market basically shut down, Sars shares how they not only prevailed but also turned it into their most productive year ever.
— Coming into 2020 we were planning for a major growth year having rolled out 75 markets during 2018-2019, but those plans had to change drastically in March, he says. We quickly reacted and put a crisis management plan in place, focusing on helping all our existing customers through the crisis and moving our marketing efforts in between markets that were open, taking us through the year and into steady growth.
How can the use of music help companies to make a better business?
— I believe that music should be front and center of every brand’s design strategy. Music with a strong brand fit can play an important role in how a brand is perceived, allowing the brand to build a stronger and lasting relationship with the customer. In a study we did with HUI Research, researchers found that playing music that reflects brand values makes a big difference, with a 9% statistically proven increase in sales when applying our model. By playing the right music, you are improving the customer experience, hence building your brand equity.
Do companies on different markets use music in similar or different ways?
— When soundtracking a brand, the job is to translate the brand strategy into a music platform and then applying that through all brand touchpoints, delivering the right music at the right place at the right time. This means that every brand’s soundtrack is unique, and that the actual application of that soundtrack can differ in between markets, type of stores, time of day, and so forth, providing a constantly contextually relevant brand experience through music, says Sars.
— Within our 75 live markets, the US and Scandinavian markets are the biggest. The difference between markets is significant, even within a specific brand. For example, local repertoire is significant, local holidays are different, and target consumers are different in between geographies and even regions.
— For a customer to us like for example Joe and the Juice, the different juice bars around the world are all categorized based on geography, location, and customer profile, and are soundtracked thereafter.
What are you up to this spring?
— Now it is all about coming out of the covid pandemic and hitting the ground running. The US market is already starting to press Play again, and Europe is expecting to follow after the summer. Coming out of this crisis, we are expecting a post-pandemic renaissance in which people will be hitting restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels, and retail, and in this rebirth, we are expecting music to play a central role, Sars concludes.