- Pepsi announced the creation of the Pepsi Music Lab, an effort that seeks to remove barriers in the music industry, create new opportunities for artists and spotlight up-and-coming hip-hop musicians, according to a press release.
- The annual program will include the Pepsi Music Lab Academy, a three-day session where three musicians each create an original track with hip-hop star Pi'erre Bourne, as well as the Pepsi Music Lab Virtual Summit in February 2022 that will feature insights on brand building, securing representation and more.
- Artists can apply for the academy by submitting an original track and video testimonial to PepsiMusicLab.com by Jan. 16. The effort draws on Pepsi's long-running connection to music and pop culture to provide resources and opportunities for underserved communities.
The Pepsi Music Lab takes the soda brand's long-running musical connections to the ground level, boosting the profiles of three up-and-coming hip-hop artists with a music academy and supporting newcomers in the music industry with a virtual summit. The effort represents an opportunity for Pepsi to engage with consumers around hip-hop culture in an authentic way.
"As a brand with a deep heritage in music, we have a unique opportunity to use our resources and scale to make an impact on the next generation of hip-hop superstars," Todd Kaplan, Pepsi's vice president of marketing, said in the press release.
The opportunity to attend an intensive three-day recording session with rapper-producer Pi'erre Bourne and emerge with an original track serves as an attractive offering for musicians, from whom Pepsi will collect valuable first-party data through a microsite, although entrants will retain ownership of the underlying intellectual property of their entries. Entries will be judged by representatives for Pepsi, music magazine The Fader, the Christopher Wallace Foundation and music marketing agency ShakerMaker, per contest rules.
The academy and virtual summit — the latter suggesting that brands still expect virtual and hybrid events to continue in 2022 — fill a void created when Red Bull pulled the plug on its popular Red Bull Music Academy and Red Bull Radio programs in 2019. Pepsi's efforts will allow the brand to connect with younger consumers who are less wary of brand involvement in cultural activities like making music compared to older generations concerned with "selling out."
Along with being a long-running sponsor of the Super Bowl halftime show, Pepsi has continued to roll out efforts around music and hip-hop, with a focus on emerging platforms. The soda brand in September activated on TikTok for a Pepsi-Cola Soda Shop campaign that featured musician Doja Cat, and recently released its first NFT collection that focused on its connection to music and pop culture. Previously, the brand sponsored a virtual hip-hop contest on Triller.