Universal Music Group (UMG) and Havas just announced a joint venture they are calling the “Global Music Data Alliance”. This initiative is intended to “utilize data to better understand the correlation among artists, music fans, and brands,” with the intention of generating new brand opportunities for UMG artists.

UMG is the biggest record label in the world, the largest of the remaining “big three” (including Warner Music Group and Sony). I wonder how deep this data can really dive? If you mine Spotify stream data within local markets, you’ll find that invariably the most popular songs in any given market align almost exactly with the Top 40 songs of the moment.

Who knows what this data will functionally and pragmatically offer to brands who are looking to align with music…will it add real value in uncovering a hidden gem among the roster of well-known, charting UMG acts for just the right brands, or will it simply be window-dressing used for brands to rationalize signing up another A-Lister in to the folds of their music program? What about the “99%” – those artists who have passionately loyal, highly regionalized fans who are listening, engaging socially, and seeing them live every day?

Not surprising that the first concerted attempt to align music data with brand insights happens to be driven by the largest remaining record label and one of the world’s largest ad agencies. However, the shotgun approach of exclusively enriching label-owned artists with marketing data pales in comparison to the opportunity around applying this same approach, with a scalpel, to emerging artists. The world is going local…and, while maybe a bit ahead of it’s time for now, music + brands is sure to follow.

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