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Michelob Ultra turns up volume on mobile music with dedicated player

While numerous brands have wised up to the synergistic relationship between music and mobile, Anheuser-Busch brand Michelob Ultra is taking its efforts to the next level with branded, city-specific playlists accessible via a dedicated mobile Web player application. 

Because Michelob Ultra is delivering a standalone branded music experience, this has the potential to engage consumers more deeply than an experience that lives on Pandora. The branded mobile music experience was created in partnership with 

?The Michelob Ultra team really want to start plus-upping their current spend where they are sponsors of festivals and marathons,? said Kevin King, director of business development at ?They saw using our service as a way to give the consumer some utility while running the event.

?We are getting people to consume music with a social referral to Facebook and where a player is in the newsfeed and it is all within the context of the brand. This is native advertising at its core.

?Our data supports that 89 percent of this was consumed on mobile phone and mobile Web.?

Rock n? Roll Marathon
The Michelob Ultra branded mobile music strategy rolled out earlier this year to participants of both the Rock n? Roll Marathon and 13.1 Marathon, two national marathon series.

Based on the positive results, Michelob Ultra is currently looking at extending the strategy for several upcoming music festivals.

The goal is to increase session times and retention around static content created by the Michelob Ultra marketing team.  

As a title sponsor of the Rock n? Roll and 13.1 marathon series, Michelob Ultra was looking for a way to activate its sponsorship and decided upon creating branded, city-specific playlists that could be delivered via a dedicated mobile Web player app before, during and after a marathon occurs. 

The music player app was promoted on Michelob Ultra?s social media sites.  

Return visits
The results from a marathon in New York include that 2,093 tracks were streamed, with 14 percent of users paying a return visit. worked with Michelob Ultra on playlist curation, building the mobile music Web player app and using social media to engage consumers with the experience. 

While many brands are interested in leveraging mobile music in a bigger way, one of the challenges they face is getting the necessary licensing rights to use such content. This is where comes in, as it also handles all of the licensing. 

Based off the initial efforts, Michelob Ultra and will be working on tweaking the experience to give users more control over the music they listen to. 

Additionally, the two companies will look to market the mobile music player in content from the festival and marathons. has also worked with Bud Light Platinum and Starr Hill Brewery, which sponsors playlists living on the Web sites of various music festivals. 

Content as utility
Brands are increasingly looking for ways to leverage the convergence of mobile and music.

For example, Urban Outfitters lets users of its mobile app to stream music from smaller, independent bands.

Additionally, Coca-Cola has repeatedly leverage mobile and music to engage with its target audience.

Most recently, a new campaign in China puts lines from popular songs on bottles of soda, allowing for on-demand access to content and creating a shareable experience via popular social application WeChat (see story). 

?Mobile music is the most consumed media on the phone,? Mr. King said. ?Mobile apps have eclipsed the Internet.

?If someone believes in the power of music coupled with what we know about the consumption of music on a mobile phone ? so when those two worlds collide, we are highly confident that it is going to be a perfect storm,? he said.

?We know people are in stores shopping, hearing a song and Shazaming it and then walking out.  But that Shazam happens in a vacuum. We have the technology to meet that consumer with a highly engaged piece of utility.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York