What You Missed at Midem This Year

Cannes Music Confab Features Announcements From Bacardi, Coke, CoverGirl

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This year, as in years past, Midem, the music business' annual shindig at Cannes -- which kicks off the annual Cannes-hosted events, including, of course, the ad industry's Cannes Lions -- featured a lot of talk, panel discussions and announcements about the growing involvement of brands with music. Here's the big ones.

Coke

More details emerged about Coke's partnership with Warner Music Group, which, as Ad Age hinted at last week, culminated in a branded song featuring Patrick Stump from Fallout Boy, Travis McCoy from Gym Class Heroes, Brendon Urie from Panic At the Disco, Cee-Lo Green (of Gnarls Barkley) and Janelle Monae. The track was unveiled at the conference by Umut Ozaydini, Coca-Cola's global marketing manager, sports and entertainment marketing.

The track "Open Happiness" will be released digitally in March via Atlantic, and, in addition to its appearance in TV spots in over 100 countries, the performers will be printed on billions of cans across the globe. For the release, Atlantic records and Coke will split the proceeds of sales of the single, with Coke using a proportion of their share for their "Live Positively" campaign, according to a source familiar with the deal. Coke, which commissioned the song, will also retain ownership of the publishing rights, which, if the single takes off, could prove valuable.

All in all, a well-thought-out idea that brings together social, commercial and branding initiatives. The star power involved will surely generate interest from teenage fans, but, like any piece of music, it'll still come down to the quality of the end-product.

Bacardi and Groove Armada

Bacardi and British dance band Groove Armada, which last year tied up a groundbreaking partnership, announced a new online collaboration under which the band will release a new EP via Bacardi's B Live global music site. Fans who register on the site will get the first MP3 for free and will be encouraged to share the track via a Facebook application, e-mail or a widget available for other social networks. Once they share the track with twenty friends, they will be sent the second track for free.

According to coverage in Billboard, the sharing process is automated and the original user increases his or her share-count among a network of friends, up to three generations. So one friend could pass it on to several people, and those people could each pass it on to several more, with the original users share tally constantly increasing. As the process continues, the original user will get access to more tracks: track three becomes available after 200 shares of track one, and when that reaches 2,000, track four will be unlocked. The more first-generation friends, the quicker that total will be reached.

SFS applauds this initiative as it is the first time that a brand and artist have so actively tried to harness the power of social networking to release free music, and it will be a real test of whether true fans of the act are prepared to play under the brand's rules in order to access the music. And it certainly makes an interesting divergence from the now increasingly prosaic "free download."

CoverGirl

For the second year running, Grey Worldwide's senior VP-director of music, Josh Rabinowitz, has announced that client P&G is inviting delegates attending Midem to submit tracks for use in a in a new CoverGirl campaign. Last year Mr. Rabinowitz gathered tracks in a similar way for a Pantene campaign in summer 2008 that featured the song "Shine," co-written by Rosi Golan and Human, a New York-based music house. This year, CoverGirl is, according to the submission criteria, looking for a song that is "positive, emotional and encourages women to step it up -- take a chance -- be their own COVERGIRL."

SFS will be happy if it means that we don't have to listen to "Umbrella" by Rihanna, which has been the sound of the CoverGirl song for the past year. Time for change indeed.

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Mike Tunnicliffe is founder of NY based Tuna Music LLC, a partner of LA based Filament Entertainment Marketing. Find out more at miketunnicliffe.com.

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