Coca-Cola's Emmanuel Seuge, Billboard's Most Powerful Branding Exec, On Music Biz @MIDEM
Coca-Cola's Emmanuel Seuge, Billboard's Most Powerful Branding Exec, On Music Biz @MIDEM

Coca-Cola's Emmanuel Seuge, head of music and entertainment marketing, talks Spotify and Music Dealers at MIDEM; Petter Wesslander (right), drummer for You Say France & I Whistle. (Photo: Andrew Hampp)

Will 50% of the music industry eventually be supported by ad revenue? The takeaway from a MIDEM panel Saturday afternoon was: most likely, and sooner than you think. Emmanuel Seuge, Coca-Cola's head of global entertainment and sports marketing (and Billboard's No. 16 most powerful person in music), pointed to his company's recent and upcoming investments as examples of how brands will play a more integrated role than ever in contributing to the music business' bottom line. As Billboard recently reported, Coca-Cola is expected to spend upwards of $200 million globally on music in 2012 across event, advertising and Olympics-related programs.

"We're very intrigued by the business model of Spotify - very interested in a strategic partnership with Spotify," Seuge said, hinting at a deal that could see a formal announcement in the coming weeks. "Four years ago we had an accelerated plan for music. Now we have 10 of our global brands that leverage music in some capacity. How do we think in a more innovative way about partnership from a real value -for-value perspective?"

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A big part of delivering Coke's part of the value equation occurred last summer, when the company obtained a minority stake in global licensing firm Music Dealers. CEO Eric Sheinkop and Music Dealers artist Petter Wesslander appeared alongside Seuge on the panel, moderated by Deviant Ventures' Umut Ozaydinli.

"If we want the brand to play a sustainable role, they need to raise the revenue the music industry is making. Otherwise the music industry is not interested in working with us," Seuge said. "It's important we create a return for the artist communities, for the players in the music industry. That's a value-for-value partnership."

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In the case of Wesslander's band, Sweden's You Say France & I Whistle, the group was able to secure major synch placements with brands like Xbox, McDonald's, Orbitz and The Gap as a direct result of its work with Music Dealers. "For our clients, [the brand support] gave them confidence that this was a real band they should get behind," Music Dealers' Sheinkop said.

The band even started its own company, You Say Corporate, to focus more exclusively on music collaborations with brands - even if it involves a little input. "The collaboration was kind of hectic and we did change the song a couple times, but it all worked very smoothly through the process," Wesslander said of a recent brand partnership.