Music: Special report

Ideally, marketing and music should exist in convenient harmony, like the Nile crocodile and its dutiful dentist, the Egyptian Plover bird. Music fuels brands and ads fuel bands. Simple.

But in reality, their relations are more akin to parasitism. Or at least that's the perception (this page). Agencies accuse music companies of trying to flog them unproven wannabes desperate for a fast track to fame.

Music companies slam ad agencies for scrimping on the music portion of the production budget and failing to appreciate its real value.

Their relationship has become a sparring match in which one contender dwarfs the other - the UK music trade is worth £1 billion (for record sales only), advertising close to £14 billion. There is little mutual trust, particularly since Bartle Bogle Hegarty launched Leap in 2003 and showed that agencies could run their own music production divisions and cut out the music industry almost entirely.

It's also hardly surprising that two ego-driven business cultures rub each other up the wrong way. The late comic Bill Hicks once said that people in advertising and marketing "are Satan's spawn filling the world with bile and garbage". And Hunter S Thompson famously wrote: "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." Could Hicks have been a music exec, and Thompson an adman, in disguise?

Music plays a big role in advertising and is itself a marketing medium.

Music festivals (see page 33), once the exclusive realm of the soap-dodging hippy, have become just another mass medium. Even the mobile ringtone, possibly the most irritating invention of modern times, is now a viable method of reaching consumers. The two industries are going to have to get along.

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