- The Bacardi and Major Lazer initiative, “Music Liberates Music,” which was launched last year, announced this week that it is tapping SoundCloud to extend the campaign, according to a statement provided to Marketing Dive.
- New artists from the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Bahamas can submit music on SoundCloud, and entries will be judged by members of Major Lazer using SoundCloud’s commenting function, per a Digital Music News report.
- The final four artists will be selected based on fan engagement. Those with the most plays, likes and shares on SoundCloud will be chosen to shoot a music video.
While SoundCloud has faced some struggles in the competitive digital music space, the news reflects its potential as a talent development platform that helps creators build a following and connect with audiences, a strength that could appeal to brands looking to reach younger consumers passionate about music. It may seem surprising that Bacardi and Major Lazer chose SoundCloud over YouTube, with its nearly 2 billion users, for the campaign. Major Lazer has also found success on YouTube, where its “Lean On” track that has more than 2 billion views. But, YouTube may not be the best choice for discovering new talent and helping artists grow their audiences, according to Digital Music News.
By partnering with SoundCloud, Bacardi is hoping to connect with a younger, music-centric audience that is in line with the brand’s upbeat, lifestyle-focused image. The partnership is a continuation of “Do What Moves You,” the music- and dance-focused campaign that Bacardi unveiled in May featuring a Major Lazer track and showing groups of dancers only from the waist down conveying different vibes through movement and expression. Bacardi and Major Lazer also launched a limited-edition rum together.
SoundCloud has struggled over the past couple of years. The site’s traffic dropped 25% from January 2016 to August 2017, from 400 million unique visitors to 300 million, according to SimilarWeb data referenced in a separate Digital Music News report. The company has also struggled financially and secured $170 million in funding last year, with its CEO being stripped of his title.
More marketers have been creating campaigns focused on supporting up-and-coming musicians. For example, Doritos’ Blaze brand teamed up with hip-hop artist Busta Rhymes this summer on “Blaze the Beat,” a platform for aspiring artists that includes a competition. Winners will be chosen to perform at the Life is Beautiful Music & Arts Festival pre-party and could win a $50,000 grand prize.