Beats Music Taps Pepsi's Saint John as First Marketing Chief

Head of Pepsi North America's Music and Entertainment Marketing Joins Music Service

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Beats Music has tapped Bozoma Saint John as its first marketing chief as competition in the music-streaming business heats up.

Ms. Saint John, who goes by "Boz," had been the head of the Music and Entertainment Marketing Group for Pepsi-Cola North America. She will officially begin her role as senior VP, head of global marketing, on April 14, reporting to Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers.

In January, Beats Music debuted as a $10/month subscription music service. Like its eponymous headphone sibling founded by Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, the music service seeks to set itself apart from its competition with music experts. In this case, experts who -- along with sophisticated algorithms for preferences -- curate playlists and suggestions meant to deliver what consumers will want to listen to next.

Bozoma Saint John
Bozoma Saint John

"It's an awesome opportunity to start with a brand that has equity already, but is on the runway to grow in this burgeoning space," Ms. Saint John said. "This is Day One, we're just starting off. … We're really going to do more of the same, just more of it. We'll start with all the partnerships that we already have."

Paid subscription services generated $628 million in revenue in 2013, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. It grew the fastest of all digital music formats, increasing sales by 57% year over year, and garnering 6.1 million subscribers for the year, up from 3.4 million in 2012.

Bloomberg recently reported that Beats Music signed up about 1,000 paying subscribers a day in its first month, citing people with knowledge of the situation. That was before free trials from an AT&T partnership began contributing subscribers.

Just after its launch, Beats Music ran a Super Bowl commercial created by R/GA that featured talk show host Ellen DeGeneres as Goldilocks Ellen, who is looking for just the right music. The ad introduced the partnership with AT&T, which includes the service on its family plan for $15 per month for up to five users across up to 10 devices. Brand partnerships like that, along with others with retailer Target and Beats Electronics, will fall under Ms. Saint John's oversight. When asked about a potential partnership with Pepsi, she laughed and said she'll have "lots and lots of partnership conversations across all iconic pop culture brands."

She has known the Beats team, including its founders and marketing chief Omar Johnson, for years as "we're all around the same space at the same time." She said she had talked to them for several months before accepting the position.

Previously, Ms. Saint John was VP-Marketing for fashion brand Ashley Stewart, and worked at traditional agencies, Arnold Worldwide and Spike Lee's SpikeDDB.

"Hand in hand with the Beats Music and Beats Electronics executive teams, Saint John will execute strategic marketing initiatives in order to earn and nurture true consumer brand recognition, loyalty and equity that will enable Beats Music to take its rightful place at the forefront of pop culture," according to a Beats statement.

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