YouTube tests Donald Trump supporters with provocative new Music ads

The launch of the YouTube Music app in the US late last year may have caused a little confusion in music biz circles.

Unveiled in the midst of the arrival of subscription service YouTube Red, the purpose of standalone app YouTube Music may have seemed a little unclear.

In effect, it’s a wrapper for YouTube’s music content on iOS and Android, featuring heavy promotion for up-and-coming artists.

There are also curated playlists, of sorts, including categories like “The Daily 40” “Spotlight On: Visially Stunning” and “On the Rise”.

Users can play ad-funded videos for free, just as they can on the standard YouTube app, but YouTube Music only really comes to life when they pay the $9.99 per month required for a YouTube Red subscription.

Once users become paying Red customers, they can enjoy offline cache saving within the YouTube Music app, in addition to an audio-only option and – the big draw – background play, so they can listen while fiddling with other apps.

Just like YouTube Red, YouTube Music’s availability its limited to the US, New Zealand and Australia for now.

This new range of ads for YouTube Music in the US are surely deliberately provocative, landing as they did yesterday (June 18), on the opening day of the Republican National Convention – aka the launch platform for Donald Trump’s campaign to become US President.

Created by agency Anomaly New York, they play with conventions of young America, attempting to represent people who may sometimes feel marginalized in their own country.

“We are proud that YouTube gives everyone a voice and a place to belong,” says YouTube CMO Danielle Tiedt.

“This campaign reflects those values, together with the wonderfully diverse people who come to YouTube every day to find, watch and share music.

“We want these spots to shine a light on this diversity and individuality, while also showing how anyone can find something to love on YouTube Music.”

The ads feature four American individuals whose identity is amplified by the music they are listening to via YouTube Music – and who, therefore, are each given a ‘theme’:

  • ‘Asfa’s theme’ – featuring a young Muslim woman walking though school while skilfully rapping Alphabet Aerobics by Blackalicious;
  • ‘Alex’s theme’ – featuring a teenager in a small town dressing in women’s clothes to the soundtrack of Elliphant and Big Freedia’s Club Now Skunk;
  • ‘Jaysn’s theme’ – featuring a young boy strutting alone in the subway to Korean hip-hop track Eung Freestyle;
  • ‘Kristen’s theme’ – featuring a tearful woman flying while listening to James Blake (and Bon Iver)’s I Need A Forest Fire;
  • ‘Tina’s theme’ – featuring a woman signing community service release papers in front of law enforcement before embracing her family to Machet’s Naturally.

Each video in the digital ad campaign, which will run for eight weeks, finishes with the epithet: “It’s not just what we listen to. It’s who we are.”

Watch ’em all below.

The campaign will run nationally across premium music and entertainment publishers, including takeovers in major music and lifestyle platforms.

In addition, it will appear in a four-week national cinema program via NCM and ScreenVision networks, ads on bus shelters and taxi tops, as well as billboards in NYC, Chicago, and LA.

Music Business Worldwide

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