Universal launches a new label… with an advertising agency

Those who worry that global brands and music artists are becoming too close for comfort, look away now.

Universal has teamed up with French ad agency BETC – owned by Havas, which is best known for its viral Evian ad featuring dancing babies on rollerskates (pictured) – to launch a jointly-run record label.

POP Records will come under Polydor’s remit, with the ‘editorial line’ of the company – and, presumably, its artist sponsorship deals – being handled by BETC.

The news is given an extra layer of interest by Vincent Bollore, the majority shareholder in both UMG owner Vivendi and Havas.

This connection led to UMG and Havas announcing an official ‘data alliance’ in January – and now it’s created a fully-fledged record label.

“A modern ad agency should be able to offer a lot more than just consulting and traditional campaigns,” said Remi Babinet, BETC’s co-founder.

“A modern advertising agency should be a media company, a producer and an audience generator in itself.”

Remi Babinet, BETC

“It should be a media company, a producer and an audience generator in itself.”

POP Records will start off with five staff members, including Fabrice Brovelli, vice president at BETC, and Christophe Caurret, the agency’s creative music director, according to Bloomberg.

“Having an advertising agency involved will add to our marketing strength,” said Nicolas Pellet, marketing director at Polydor. “The editorial line of the label will be in their hands.”

According to Advertising Age, the label will be run out of Paris, but with a remit to sign global artists and branding deals.

Dominique Delport, global MD of Havas Media Group, said, “We have launched the partnership [with Universal] on different fronts. We have the Global Music Data Alliance, and brand partnerships, and this is another layer, another way to collaborate and to explore new ways to bring content and brands together.”

POP Records is apparently already talking to artists it wishes to sign, and predicts it will have the first acts on its roster by the end of 2015.Music Business Worldwide

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