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Universal Music's planning boss says balancing data with human intuition is still the key to marketing success

Universal Music

The music industry is the midst of a data revolution but it is the restrained and informed use of such information that will crown the winners in the space, suggested Universal Music's research and planning boss.

It's not a novel suggestion, but Jack Fryer believes it's an argument worth repeating. Speaking at The Drum's Future of Marketing event on 'The Power of Music in Marketing' Fryer said that for all the data at a marketer's disposal there are some things that just can't be predicted.

Would data have foresaw the proliferation of punk music in the 1970s had the technology, readily on-tap today been available? No, he said, there needs to be a human, quantitative element driving the decision-making process and that's something his team of nine in Universal's research and planning team can provide.

“The people who best transform the space are those who can inject data with emotional and cultural intelligence. The music and brands who cut through here must look at it as more than just PR or an event, and go from tactics to strategies,” he said.

On the power of music, he rolled out data emphasising that music lights up the brain “like a Christmas Tree” in a way that spoken language can't.

He said it elicits nuanced and unique emotions in consumers, and using that insight it is Fryer’s job to help empower brands to find their sound and infuse their campaigns with right kind.

“It has the ability to affect behaviour in us as listeners or consumers, it has igniting powers in reward and gratification,” he added.

He underlined the pioneering use of technology in music by Samsung, ‘Years & Years’ activity, the first virtual reality, live streamed gig, and Metallica’s intimate livestream at the House of Vans.

“The art and science for brands is to transcend artists in a way that is more overarching and artist agnostic," he continued, urging brands to "create a property that has a place in the world and its own value, bigger than artists more relevant.”