Decoupling Music Procurement (Part 1)

One of the sessions we would have liked to attend at ProcureCon Marketing was on music licensing, or buying music rights - we have featured the subject many times on the site. Unfortunately we could not attend every day. Fortunately, we caught up with Dominic Caisley, CEO and co-founder, Big Sync Music, who steered the presentation. He kindly offered to do a synopsis for our readers. So, here he is, lifting the lid on music procurement.

I recently spent three days at the ProcureCon Marketing conference in London, talking to some of Europe’s most senior marketing procurement professionals about the way they buy music for their brands. We’d been invited to participate in their stream: 'Capitalising on New Business Models and Innovations’ by discussing the merits of decoupling music licensing and sharing how our new music procurement model works with Unilever and what we have accomplished together.  The nearby Tower of London, juxtaposed with the best of The City’s modern architecture, seemed a fitting visual backdrop for a discussion about old methods versus new.

Just over three years ago, Unilever took the step of partnering with Big Sync Music, to consolidate its music buying, worldwide, for all of its 400 brands from AXE and Dove to Magnum and Lipton.  Since then the business and partnership has grown to incorporate global offices in Singapore, Amsterdam and New York, and the Big Sync team has worked with many more brands including Samsung, Johnson & Johnson, Diageo and GSK.  Big Sync has pioneered a new model for music procurement - one that delivers brands the best value, transparency and creative excellence via concentrated buying power, creative continuity, centralised data reporting and a consistent process that ultimately protects clients from the confusing world of music procurement.

Joining me on stage was our client, Jorgen Bartsch, VP Global Marketing Services for Unilever, to give his perspective on the new process. We covered the growing appetite for transparency and control and how buying music directly through one centralised hub reaps short-term financial benefits as well as long-term strategic value.

First we asked the question: “Are you getting enough value out of your music licensing?”

Consolidating all music licensing through one central hub will increase a brand’s buying power resulting in significant cost avoidance. However, the benefits of volume can be lost if the actual licence negotiation is not efficient or appropriate. This is where licensing expertise is essential, finding alternative routes to market, identifying all music options and picking through the media needs of the brand and agency to find the best and most exact solution. If executed correctly, this process can reduce cost, improve the quality of the music used and prevent future payments for extensions and renewals.

Over the past three years we have been able to build a price bench-marking system for our clients that captures every quote and final cost for every piece of music considered for use. This allows us to check historical and current market rates for all types of music from stock or library music to superstar artists, thus enabling us to validate music costs and ensure we enter any negotiations fully prepared. The net result of this value philosophy benefits everyone - creatives get the song they really want, marketing gets an engaging and entertaining piece of content, procurement receives cost efficiencies and warranties and indemnities.

Next we talked about the importance of transparency throughout the supply chain, and went on to ask the question: “How does the new model ensure creative excellence?

To find out more, tune in to Part 2 tomorrow.


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