Music in a Bottle- Swaroop Banerjee, Founder, Chaos Entertainment Group (Australia)
by Swaroop Banerjee Industry Watch | April 27, 2023 | Guest Article
Swaroop Banerjee Chaos Entertainment Group (Australia) Music in a Bottle
A Chief Marketing Officer of India’s largest selling beer brand once told me, I have an issue with live entertainment. If you can solve it, my entire budget is yours to play with. Without getting caught in his trap I asked him what it was. Turns out their data said 75% of all beer sold at festivals are warm, that is not the beer-consumer experience they want and therefore think the worse served product is at a live concert or festival.
Every region has its own strategic challenge while delivering their best-bottled experience to a fan I had one question in return for him. I said you are aware that this festival has over 300,000 guests in 4 days, you also know 40% of them will drink beer, you also have been told each beer drinking guest will go for a few pints and therefore you have accounted for product.
This product by excise law comes from your warehouse in a truck, this product is delivered every 6-8 hours as and when refills are called or are stored at the inventory temp warehouse within the festival site. So you have agreed to send over 600,000 bottles of HOT BEER FROM A HOT WAREHOUSE IN A HOT TRUCK? You expect the festival organizer who is allowed by excise law to take the product in only so many hours before the festival gates open to chill it all? Which they anyways do, but for the early walk - in guests, do you want them to refuse a beer? Why on earth would you not engage your cold storage warehouses so 50% of the job is done at source? And the festival bars will cool it 50% further and your consumer will never get a warm beer.
To which after a defeated 2 minutes pause, the gentleman said, well this solution involves me within the answer. I did a Khaby and raised my palms.
LET'S DRINK TO SOME REAL NUMBERS
The global music event market size was valued at $152.2 billion in 2021 and is estimated to reach $481.4 billion by 2031, registering a CAGR of 9.7% from 2022 to 2031.
In India, 2022 saw over 19,000 events with over 8 million people stepping into live music experiences and 600,000 people who chose to step in solo to these events. By 2026/27 over 21.85 Million fans will attend at least one music event.
Lola, Bacardi Nh7, Sunburn, Supermoon, Magnetic Fields, Ziro, Supersonic, SteppinOut, Grubfest, Zomaland, RIFF, Mahindra Blues, Echoes of Earth, Hornbill, Sula fest and I yet do not have to look up a single name. India is a land of music festivals that are now second nature to most tourist routes as well.
The International tourism foot print to Goa, Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Himachal and Arunachal Pradesh have seen hundreds of thousands of first timers that landed for the love of their music. Every international electronic top DJ returns to India every single year. International acts featuring the real deal in hip hop, Kpop, rock, pop, R&B and Dance have all made their rounds.
India has more young people who will experiment with their drinking as first timers or regulars at music festivals than any other place. The average demography at all festivals is of legal drinking age and love their happy hours or VIP drinking experience.
I really want to tell you how much of our favourite drink gets consumed at a small, medium or large music event in India. However the numbers won’t match because there is no featured data available by experience of creating almost a hundred concerts and half a dozen large-scale festivals I could give you a percentage math.
Just last year, there were around 19,000 featured events in music, the top tier festivals see anything between 40,000 - 300,000 pax, the middle tier approximately 12,000 - 18,000 pax, the average decent concert will touch 7,000 - 12,000 pax and the smaller ones will be between 2,000 - 6,000 pax. Why don’t you rack your brains and do the numbers? Let’s say 30% of people at concerts do not consume alcoholic beverages. While the old school concert producer in India is still calling in cases with a 50% thumb rule, that era has passed. Post pandemic, we are freaking thirsty at festivals at a rate higher than anywhere and drink we shall!
Beer is the boss. EVERYWHERE
Here is a usual thumb rule globally but countries like Australia, US, Canada, countries in Asia depending on the season would to my personal experience have a similar outlook. The graph above is collated from nearly 100 music events over 12 months with thousands of fans at my second home, Australia.
A more important graph I try to tell category heads, brand teams that brief us at CEG to create music festivals for them is to understand the why more than the what. IF YOU ARE A DAY DRINK AND SPONSOR A NIGHT FESTIVAL, YOUR NUMBERS WILL NOT LOOK GREAT.
In India we tend to spray and pray. Here is a global peer map of loyalty. On both sides for brand and fans
Budweiser has been with Super bowl for 30 years. Bud and FIFA - 36 years. Heineken and F1 - 5 years. Bud Light and NFL - 30 years. Diageo and NFL, JW and McLaren, Red Bull and well, all kinds of extreme sports. Beer brands dominate, accounting for 67% of the sectors total spend and 61% of the total volume of deals. The alcoholic beverages industry is estimated to shell out USD 462.77 million across 666 sponsorship deals with European Sports IPs.
Heineken and Coachella have been together from 2002. Carlsberg if I am not mistaken is still Live Nations chosen exclusive beer partner across hundreds of festivals, Absolut stuck to art since 1986,Oktoberfest since the 1810s has suddenly not started serving cocktails as its main draw. It is astonishing how big the alcoholic drinks brands spend on sponsorship at music festivals globally. Estimated in excess of $1.54 billion annually just in the US.4
Alcohol Brands sponsor over 65% of all music festivals in the world, with Heineken ruling the roost. Even festival producers understand this -Tomorrowland has an agreement with the province of Antwerp until 2033 to use De Schorre in Boom
So if 65% of the population attending music festivals are consuming such legendary amounts of their favourite pints, what does a brand do? Does it spray and pray? Should it create its own? Consider bringing down a global legacy they hold?
Answer: Speak to your fans. Read that again. Speak to your fans.
So, some fellas back home have nailed it and the collaborations have paid out well, independent music fans will visit Pune each year and that’s a win for our favourite rum. Some sponsorships have been done in real good taste, Concert tours will always hold out stronger so Yay to the green bottles.
Craft is the new young experience and is doing some great rounds at day time festivals, Vodka at electronic festivals always the safer bet. So yes, left to brand teams the choices will be safe, some will have legacy and most will see the repetitive pouring deals, which has always paid up.
In stark contrast, putting a few easy evenings here and there is not going to help. You have a horse race as a legacy and you want millennials and Gen-Z to not only consume you but love your brand. HOW? Aah! By sponsoring an electronic festival where you say your entire brew was served hot.
Some brand managers want to ride a trend; we are a colorful drink and in the spirit of colors let’s get hip hop going, let’s take Bollywood artistes to regions and not charge ticket money because we are about dosti, Yaari?
Oh please! Do indulge me a little further, why is every brief asking for an international act? or worse asking for a Coke Studio Rip off or a Tour Bus rip off? Why do you think hip-hop is your genre or electronic? Why do you think independent music is taken? And of the above your spray and pray involves shopping for top Bollywood acts? This is where it gets really interesting. So let’s get to it.
Do we as the makers of some of the finest brews and spirits invest in fan data that goes beyond AOPs? If you have supported a particular sponsorship for 3 years, what is your consumption pattern at the music event?
Post festival has the trend continued? What is your ROI marker over the half decade recorded in parameters of experience, consumption, post show buying trends, merchandise sold? You have steady records of your on-premise and off-premise history in most parameters but your live entertainment data gathering is at best minimal.
As a community sponsoring or creating music events we need to move beyond being perpetual shoppers through our media agencies.
If you are the largest seller of strong beer, which are consumed by masses in the regions, and want to focus on new fans and consumers; is spray and pray truly the way to go? How many of us have invested in a Chief Culture Officer? A culture team that lives and breathes this part where you make a fan and keep a fan for life and then call her or him periodically throughout the year.
The truth is simple; you are asking people trained to market your product to build a pop culture ecosystem which enables brand love, loyalty and consumption using an emotion like music, which is alien to their core skill set. Of course, some of you will hit gold a few times but brand love using music as an emotion is built over time. Our patience runs out faster than the glass gets empty.
Hey, I was there.
Your consumer needs to be your fan. Your fan needs to follow you where you go, consume you happily, wear your merchandise as her memory, flaunt it with pride and most of all scream out the street cred with that selfie to say hey, I was there. Then you repeat this over and over perpetually till your fan and your brand are second nature and the music event becomes the enabler and not the other way around.
I am invested and have been invested in the alcobev - music relationship for a long period of time. I have worked with some great minds in the space that have allowed me to help them create experiences with a single focus – ‘The fans experience and the fans loyalty.’ Here is my top 10 go to market strat when using music as my enabler.
1. Invest in a culture team that works with your brand team. I cannot emphasise more on this, brands that have focused culture teams own the best pop culture properties.
2. Commission that study to understand your aspirational fan and consumer. We need to talk to the fan all the time. Your social media tools could work you wonders if used correctly.
3. Have the gall to drop legacy properties that may not work with your fans any more. Fans love trends or heritage, the numbers will tell. Choose wisely.
4. Get with where the fan is, don’t let your agency run your handles, give it to your culture teams; most of the posts are announcements of sponsorships and at best garner 10 views. You pay for the act, the AMA needs to be on your handle.
5. Your culture team understands your consumers and will be designed to create, nurture and build your own personal pop culture ecosystems.
6. Sponsor something only if you will back it for a long time. OR, no one is stopping you from building your own.
7. In India we deal with some stringent legalities, your culture team understands this. Empower them.
8. Put word out to your strategic agencies-These genres we only do pouring. These genres we will back for the right reasons. These genres we will NEVER touch. This genre we will own.
9. Let’s behave like the Music Investors we are-One Friday 3 hours every single week get your media agency to show you top 10 gigs to invest that quarter. I work with brands that do this as a rule after I have pushed them and sometimes turn around to tell me, hey, why are you not talking about this summer property? That’s when I know my job here is done.
10. The fizz is in the regions - Our nation is diverse, your fan is everywhere, what works in the South may not work in the North. You are a destination for labels and artistes, ensure you are multi-lingual and never biased to one sound simply because a music agency told your media agency that this artist tops charts.
There is more music out there than we know. Let’s put it in a bottle and serve it chilled.
A Chaos Originals piece!
By - Swaroop Banerjee
Founder - Chaos Entertainment Group (Australia)
Investor & Business Mentor - Environmanly Lifestyle
Chaos Entertainment Group (CEG) is a South Asian Music, Talent, Art and Pop Culture consulting start up that specializes in building fan engagement cultures and properties worldwide. The author has created and produced Music Festivals, Sports Festivals, Concert Tour Brands, Live Entertainment based Branded Ecosystems in India, Middle East and Australia. He has worked with international brand teams, M&E organizations and live entertainment crews in over 7 nations with over 2 decades of experience.
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There is more music out there than we know. Let’s put it in a bottle and serve it chilled. A Chaos Originals piece!