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Want to give away free tunes? Sony Connect is lovin’ it

With JupiterResearch's market analysts projecting that sales for digital music will reach US$270 million this year, on-line tunes are clearly prized by consumers, a fact not lost on McDonald's. The scope of its Big Mac Meal Tracks summer promo, which gave away codes for free songs with every Big Mac meal deal purchase, was impressive - covering North America, the U.K., France and Germany and a library numbering hundreds of thousands of songs. And toiling in the shadows of the Golden Arches to help make such a grand-scale musical connection was a brand-new Sony division that's now on the hunt for other promo partners.
September 1, 2004

With JupiterResearch’s market analysts projecting that sales for digital music will reach US$270 million this year, on-line tunes are clearly prized by consumers, a fact not lost on McDonald’s. The scope of its Big Mac Meal Tracks summer promo, which gave away codes for free songs with every Big Mac meal deal purchase, was impressive – covering North America, the U.K., France and Germany and a library numbering hundreds of thousands of songs. And toiling in the shadows of the Golden Arches to help make such a grand-scale musical connection was a brand-new Sony division that’s now on the hunt for other promo partners.

On the heels of the landmark McD’s promo, Sony Connect has signed new deals with United Airlines and Intel in an effort to drive consumers to its sites in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, the U.K., Germany, France and Japan.

But song giveaways with Sony Connect aren’t reserved exclusively for big-budget corporations and brands. Small- to mid-sized companies can offer free tunes to their customers by purchasing a volume of tracks from connect.com at a cheaper price than the US$0.99 per-song standard. And although he says this bulk discount varies widely depending on the size of the order and the number of songs the deal encompasses, Sony Connect Europe’s senior marketing and sales manager Peter Duerr adds that the price comes down even more if a company plans to invest in media advertising to support the promo; McDonald’s, for example, touted Connect in a heavy rotation of 60- and 30-second TV and radio ads.

The McDonald’s deal also provides a good blueprint for how Connect manages an international initiative. The unit’s Berlin office dealt directly with McDonald’s promotional teams in France, Germany and the U.K. to handle multilingual advertising and local laws regarding giveaways. For example, French law prohibits product giveaways with purchase, so Connect worked with its QSR partner to convert the French promo into a sweepstakes.

You might be wondering how this kind of marketing concept could work for a kids entertainment company since on-line stores typically trade in credit card transactions. But Sony’s Connect Cash payment system lets parents deposit money into e-accounts that their kids can use to buy songs.

With thriving TV and gaming businesses, Sony obviously has a lot of other content to play with outside of music, and Sony Connect America GM Jay Samit hints that visual downloads including show clips and video games will soon be available for promo usage.

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