O2 courts record labels in music sponsorship push

O2 is set to build out its music sponsorship activity by deepening its relationships with record labels and boosting its Priority ticketing service.

O2: set for further music industry collaborations
O2: set for further music industry collaborations

The carrier will forge better links with the recorded music industry to become a "valuable channel" for music sales. To that end, O2 has appointed entertainment agency FRUKT to help develop its strategy with labels and publishers.

Head of sponsorship for The O2, Nuala Donnelly, told Marketing that O2 had already built up strong relationships with promoters, and that it wanted to win over the music industry.

The aim is to fend off competitors, such as Barclays and American Express, in the music sponsorship arena. Rival EE is also active in the area, offering free 4G at last year’s Glastonbury festival and launching its own ticketing service.

Really it’s about sitting down with labels and saying, how can we help you sell music, or promote an artist, or build a fan base

The move could mean a shift away from one-off collaborations, such as O2's TV spots featuring Lady Gaga and Beyonce, towards a more comprehensive strategy.

Donnelly said: "We have had great relationships with labels. What it’s been is slightly bitty. We try things out but we’ve never been focused on helping them achieve their goals, which is what we did with promoters.

"We articulated the benefits of working with us – ultimately [our goal was] to help sell tickets.

"Really it’s about sitting down with labels and saying, how can we help you sell music, or promote an artist, or build a fan base."

O2 has cemented its reputation in music through venue sponsorships, Priority ticketing and the streaming app O2 Tracks. It has also forged an exclusive partnership with Will.i.am for his Puls smart wristband.

While Donnelly said another venue sponsorship was unlikely, she said the carrier would develop both Priority and O2 Tracks.

"We want to evolve that so that we are almost the go-to platform for people who are passionate about music," she said. "We want to enable them and help them get closer, inspire them and encourage them to discover new music, new friends and new venues."

She added: "We’re looking at O2 Tracks 2.0 – what does that look like?"

"It’s about connecting to customers, getting a real insight into what they want from us – they love the ticket proposition but [we want to find out] what else they want."

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