Research from GroupM ESP Finds Music Hits a High Note as the Most Important Media in People’s Lives; Signals Unprecedented Opportunity for Brand Partnerships with Live Music

Live events, social media and digital media play significant roles in consumers’ experiences and brand favorability

NEW YORK--()--The future is bright for brands that tune into live music partnerships. According to proprietary research introduced today by GroupM Entertainment & Sports Partnerships (ESP), and conducted by GroupM Next, the forward-looking innovation unit of the world’s leading media investment management operation, GroupM, one out of three people who attended a concert in the last 12 months remembers the brand partner of the last live event they attended.

Music is the most important media in people’s lives, the study shows, leading watching television, reading, social media, going to movies, and engagement with other media. Music partnerships are also most likely to increase positive feelings and a consumer’s propensity to purchase from a brand, ranking 27% higher than award shows, 15% higher than a sporting event, and 14% higher than a television show partnership – suggesting music is the next must-have line item for advertising budgets.

The study, The New Music Model for Brands: How Live Events and Digital are Changing the Sound of Things, along with other forward-looking insights at the future of media, innovation and consumer engagement, are detailed in the latest issue of NEXT, a GroupM publication.

“This research provides further clarity and understanding into what’s happening in this massive, new environment for music and live events,” said Jennifer Hageney, EVP, GroupM ESP. “Our clients are realizing the powerful impact from these shifts. Technology, digital and social scale, and consumer desire are all aligned for brands to explore, which means brands have the opportunity to uniquely sync engagement with unforgettable memories.”

Significant findings from the research include:

  • Live Events, together with social media, create magic. Social media is the new word of mouth (WOM) for music. For people 35 and younger, social media is the most likely way to have heard about a live event. So, while 49% of all concertgoers indicate they learned about the last concert or festival via WOM, the shift is underway and inevitable toward the influence of social. “Let’s take a selfie” is also now as ubiquitous as “Can I grab you a drink?” as concertgoers take to social media to talk about music or share their photos, videos and experiences.
  • YouTube occupies an interesting niche in today’s music scene. YouTube music listening is on par with audio-only digital channels such as Pandora or Spotify. Among 18- to 24-year-olds, 48% listen to music on YouTube daily, just shy of the 50% among the age group who listen to Internet radio and streaming services daily. Similarly, these channels have nearly the same importance in the discovery of new artists, with Internet radio playing a role for 57% of the demographic, YouTube, 56%.
  • Live Music 2.0 is here for artists, fans and brands alike, thanks to technology. Taking a picture or video of the show with a phone has become the second most-popular engagement at a concert or festival, behind buying food and drinks. Fifty-two percent of concertgoers are also using their mobile device to look up details about the concert. Looking at digital technology, it also opened an endless tool chest of options for live event experiences, beyond the 4-5 standard activation tactics normally pursued by brands. Fifty-six percent of concertgoers said they would pay extra for an LED bracelet which lights up in sync with the music; 50% said they would pay extra for an app which allows them to request a song for the band to play live.
  • Partnership potential through live events will continue to grow. Using a pricing randomization experiment, people who attended concerts in the past year revealed they would attach a $2.60 value to an exclusive song download from the show they attend – more than double the average cost of an iTunes song download.
  • Music continues to span all generations, with consumers hungry for more live music experiences. Ninety-three percent of all people listen to music at least weekly; 71% daily. Fifty percent of people surveyed have been to a live show in the past 12 months; among 18- to 24-year olds, this number soars to 68%.

According to IEG, a WPP-owned company that monitors sponsorship spending, $1.43 billion was spent by brands on music partnerships in 2014. Music partnerships continue to grow year-over-year, and have increased by more than 33% since 2010. While significant, it represents still just a fraction of overall music industry revenues, with signals pointing to a marketplace primed for significant growth.

The power of music for brands and fans is just that – powerful. “By understanding the concertgoers’ motivations for buying a ticket and what they want at the show and after, the pieces are in place for music partnerships to continue to gain steam. Brands that can translate these insights into strategic investments that more closely integrate and align with media will be singing a different tune by turning concertgoers into brand customers,” stated Morgan Buksbaum, VP for GroupM ESP.


GroupM ESP is an award-winning Entertainment & Sports Partnerships (ESP) consultancy uniquely positioned at the intersection of media and marketing. Making brands resonate through inspiring multimedia entertainment and sports experiences, GroupM ESP specializes in identifying, developing, negotiating, and managing strategic platforms and partnerships for brands with properties/events/talent/media partners. From sports to film, music to lifestyle affinities, our teams focus on developing innovative multifaceted platforms that embed our clients in consumer passion points creating lifelong, authentic fans for the brands we work with.


GroupM Next is the forward-looking innovation unit of GroupM, the world’s largest global media investment management group that is the parent company to WPP media service agencies Mindshare, MEC, MediaCom and Maxus, as well as Xaxis and Catalyst. Together with GroupM agencies, GroupM Next focuses on the curation and application of insight-focused solutions across online, social, mobile and addressable channels. Through thought leadership, technology and research, GroupM Next delivers data-driven actionable insights and a clear path to action to help GroupM agencies and their clients harness the right opportunities in the digital technology and new media industry environments with speed and relevance.


GroupM Next
Sarah Pitkin, 314-682-2030

Release Summary

The future is bright for brands that tune into live music partnerships, according to proprietary research introduced today by GroupM ESP and GroupM Next.


GroupM Next
Sarah Pitkin, 314-682-2030