SYNOPSISThis is a case about reclaiming the cultural currency of a lost music icon, Napster.This case is about how Napster turned the digital category upside down by challengingengrained category behavior.This is a case that demonstrates a more progressive type of brand campaign, one that requiresa cumulative effect of multiple messages within multiple media to communicate the depth andrichness of the brand.This is a case about the importance of brand communication behavior. How, where and whenour communication ran was just as important as what it said.Despite an enormous challenges Napster subscriptions continue to grow, and Napster continuesto develop new products, services and revenue models.This case demonstrates how Planning helped Napster upend the digital music category.
TAKE TWOIn July 2001 the courts and the RIAA effectively ended the golden age of digital music by forcingNapster to shut down.Napster re-launched in May 2003, though different from before.Napster was now a legal, online, music subscription service that gave people who pay a monthly fee unlimitedaccess to 1.5 million+ songs to download to a PC and transfer to compatible portable MP3 players.The Napster player software had improved, but only to the same level of competitors like iTunes or Rhapsody. - Online retail store for purchasing single tracks or albums - Recommendations - Playlists, one-click playlist downloads - Artist picks - Most popular downloadsDespite low consumer interest in subscription, the first year of the re-launch resulted in steady subscription growth.11 Ipsos Insight TEMPO Keeping Pace With Digital Music Behavior 2004 – 70% of consumers prefer to pay per download over subscription-based services.
THE ASSIGNMENTNew competitors (AOL, Yahoo!, MSN) entered the marketplace softening Napster acquisitionsand site traffic creating additional options and limited online advertising opportunities.Napster needed to develop its brand image to create distinction among new competitorsin the subscription space.And Napster needed to retain existing subscribers in order to meet revenue goals.Our brief for Q4 2005 was clear:Create an integrated campaign to re-brand and distinguish Napster that would increasesubscriptions and reduce churn.
THE TROUBLE WITH GETTING OLD18-34-year-olds are the largest consumers of music.2Ironically, younger music fans were a minority among Napster subscribers,with the mean age of approximately 43 years old.This was an indicator of brand image issues.Focus groups, interviews, blogs, articles, conversations at music storesand clubs all indicated Napster was less relevant for music today.NAPSTER ISSUE #1:Napster had lost its cultural currency, youth and vigor.2 Simmons, 2004
THE NEW KID AROUND TOWNDuring the two years of Napster silence, iPod phenomenon took off worldwide.iPod evoked youthfulness, and energy that once was Napster’s.What’s more, iPod only worked with iTunes compounding iPod’s impact.People now looked to iPod first and foremost for online, digital music.iPod/iTunes commanded a 70% share of market.3NAPSTER ISSUE #2The dominance of Apple in the digital music marketplace.3 NPD Group, iTunes retained a 70 percent market share for digital downloads between December 2003 and July 2004.
I WANT MY MTVThe benefits of the subscription model are neither quickly nor easily understood,EVEN AMONG SUBSCRIBERS.Understanding subscription requires explanation.The behavior of purchasing and possessing ‘their’ music is about controlling ‘their’ accessto music and controlling ‘their’ image.The industry has taught us we must own music in order to fully appreciate it.It is a well entrenched behavior, having been conditioned by years of record, tape,CD and, more recently, iTunes purchases.NAPSTER ISSUE #3Napster’s way of music is complex and counter-intuitive to the way that people areaccustomed to experiencing music.
TAKE BACK WHAT IS RIGHTFULLY YOURSThe challenge for us was clear.To succeed and build Napster subscriptions, our brand idea and campaign needed to address:ISSUE OPPORTUNITY#1 Napster’s loss of identity Regain Napster’s mystique and point of view in digital music#2 The dominance of iPod Take back thought leadership for the digital music category#3 The complexity of subscription Get more people to rejoin the Napster music community (grow share)
POSSESSION ISN’T 9/10 THE LAW,IT’S 9/10 THE PROBLEMThe behavior of music ownership appeared a difficult obstacle.As Steve Jobs said, “People want to own their music.”If owning digital music has so much value, try selling yours.The truth is the music establishment wants people to think they have to own music.The music establishment is built on a record sales system that forces people to repurchase theirmusic each time the format changes.How many times have you bought the Beatles White Album?
IF MUSIC WERE ALIVE IT WOULD WANT TO BE FREEThroughout the generations popular music has always represented freedom and independence. “Music is everybodys possession. Its only publishers who think that people own it. – John LennonThis was Napster’s point of view. ‘You don’t have to own music to experience it.’This is what was taken from Napster (and music lovers) when it was shut down.This contrarian point of view is what we needed to give back to Napster to reignite the brand.From its inception, Napster freed music from the establishment.The idea of musical freedom is what appealed to original Napster users. “What sort of person uses Napster…? The knee-jerk analysis done by those at the RIAA is to say, “People who don’t want to pay for music.” The real answer is, “People with a worldview that music (especially new music) is important to them.” – Seth Godin
MUSIC LIBERATEDWe used nontraditional briefing tools get across the “feeling” of the brand, including the followingmantra and Napster Fanzine: “Napster believes in the passion we all share for music and the ability to openly access and enjoy it. Today, Napster is an open, democratic music society that offers fans open access to find and to share not only the music, but also the experience around the music. Napster represents not the struggle and greed that surround today’s music landscape, rather the purity and imagination of the music itself. They are music embattled. We are music Liberated!”
THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREEInitial conceptual work (adcepts) went directly after Apple and iPod.They were deliberately confrontational to challenge iPod dominance.
KNOW YOUR REAL ENEMYSometimes your enemy isn’t your adversary, particularly when your adversary is iPod,loved and used by millions.Sometimes your enemy is what your adversary stands for, or what your adversary advocates.Apple isn’t Napster’s enemy, ownership is.Headlines that attacked Apple were off-putting.We needed a more rich way to show how Napster makes music liberated. TS AN T EFI I- O EN B WN SUBSCRIPTION ERSH MUSIC IP LIBERATED NA E PSTE R HERI TA G
MORE IS MOREThere is a difference between complex and complicated. Complex is rich with texture and nuance.Complicated is over-bearing and frustrating. Complex can be good. Complicated is always bad.Napster is a complex brand, full of richness, attitude and nuance. It required more than one single-minded message, more than one way to communicate how Napster makes music liberated. SUBS C RI PT ION LIB MUS BENEFITS ER IC AN T I- O WN ERSH SIC IP RATED NAP ST ER HER M RAT ITAGE E LIB S
THE APPLE OF OUR iOne question nagged us. Was music liberated too Apple?“It’s much more fun being a pirate than joining the Navy.” – Steve JobsNavy?Take a good look at how iPod behaves. Uniformity, precision, stark, clean lines, uniform color,order and size, the white headphones as an insignia.The iPod is the Navy.iPod looks like the Navy. Millions of people marching endlessly to and from their homes and jobs,like sailors in the Navy.Apples’ quest for people to pay $.99 per song is a quest to preserve the system of ownership.Or preserving the status quo, like the Navy.
WE’RE ORANGES, NOT APPLESIf iPod is the Navy, then the real pirate is Napster.Napster is music liberated. A liberator. An insurgent. Insurgents don’t wear uniforms Napster works with multiple hardware Insurgents utilize modest resources Napster is a small budget account Insurgents strive for freedom Napster makes music liberated MU Insurgents exist to overturn the status quo Y SIC Napster challenges the status quo NC A TS AN T EFI LI GE I- O EN NS SUR URG B N WNAnd that’s exactly what Napster needed to do. SUBSCRIPTION MUSICAL I ENCY ERSHNapster must challenge the idea of owning music in order MUSIC IPto overturn the category and take back its mystique and LIBERATEDthought leadership.Napster must ignite ‘A Musical Insurgency’ in order NA Eto liberate music from the status quo. PSTE R HERI TA G MUS Y ICAL INSURGENC
INSURGENCY IS MORE THAN WORDSCommunication is more than the words you say, but also how, when and where you say them. This was a more progressive campaign approach to communicate the richness of Napster. This had huge implications for how creative and media worked together to create a total campaign effect.Insurgency was not just the voice for creative but also the rule of engagement for campaign tactics.
OUT OF HOMEOOH was posted next to Apple creative or near Apple stores.
TELEVISION:15, :10, :05 television felt like interruptions or pirated broadcasts.
PRINT, INTERACTIVE ANDOTHER POINTS-OF-CONTACTPrint and interactive ran ‘deep’ into music culture to play up the grassroots feeling of insurgency.
BEHAVIORAL RESULTSWithin two weeks of launch, subscriptions had increased by 15% compared topre-campaign levels.Napster reached record sales in the first quarter of the campaign.Increased total subscribers to 600,000 by Q2 2006.
ATTITUDINAL RESULTSNapster maintains the highest brand awareness of any music brand.3Blog monitoring showed that the campaign was helping to give the brand its cultural cache back.3 King, Brown tracking study, 09/2005 showed Napster having 94% awareness for places to get music online, higher than Amazon, iTunes and Virgin Megastore.
FUTURE PLATFORM FOR GROWTHCultural cache and a clear brand point of view paved the way for Napster to re-launch Napster.com asan advertising-based music destination web site, featuring:- 2 million free songs- Napster Links, to syndicate free music across the web- N-Archive, the people’s history of musicSeveral high-profile online music subscription ventures, including AOL Music, MSN Music andYahoo! Music failed or called no glory, despite large budgets and unlimited media.
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