Music’s Role in Marketing

Music-Marketing“Every time a brand uses music—in marketing, sales or in a PR context, regardless of the music, genre, style, artist, or channel through which it is played, the music is influencing a customer’s perceptions about the brand. It is effectively creating an asset or liability for its overall brand equity.”

Ruth Simmons and Rachel Simmons

Music has been used to fantastic effect in marketing down the years. The emotional and cultural associations we make with music makes it a very powerful medium to compliment a visual message in marketing. It is very important that music chosen for marketing purposes is carefully matched to the tone of a brand and product. Marketing agencies are research institutes for social meanings and have extensive practical experience in melding music and visuals to social and psychological motivations. So in what ways does music contribute to an advertised message?

  1. Entertainment: music engages the attention and most people enjoy music. The most basic function of using music in advertising can be seen as giving the audience something they enjoy in order for the advertisement to seem like less of an intrusion.
  2. Continuity: music is often used in films to provide an element of continuity to unconnected visual images. When a visual image cuts between different scenes a steady musical background provides a connection and tells the viewer that these scenes are connected.
  3. Memorability: a fact of our cognition and audition is that music lingers in our minds. This has been demonstrated to be the case even when the mind is an unwilling host. Consumers have been shown to favour products which have a degree of familiarity and so any element to an ad which makes the product more memorable to the viewer is positive. Music has been shown to serve this function.
  4. Lyrical Language: music conveys a verbal message in a non-spoken way and emotive, poetic language is more powerful than factual language. Putting words to music automatically gives them an emotive and poetic feel. Utterances which would sound trite and naïve if spoken can be sung respectably. Marketers exploit this fact by delivering factual information in spoken language and emotional, nonfactual messages by lyrical language and musical accompaniment.