By Max Hegerman, Global Director of Brand Strategy at Guvera
Through every stage (and highlight) of life, music is there. It provides an energy. It makes us feel alive. It provides us with a sense of freedom, comfort and association (as it truly is the thread that stitches together the tapestry of our lives). Music matters. And, so do the artists who create it.
Guvera started off as an idea to take on piracy. Since being founded in 2008, Guvera has been all about music and ensuring that with support from brands, the music industry and its artists are compensated for the music they create – the music we love.
To do this, Guvera secured the international patents that give the business the competitive edge it has today. At the same time, we leveraged a marketing trend we saw in advance. In reality it was more than a trend, it was a seismic shift. Brands and advertisers were moving away from traditional media methods to new and innovative online platforms, especially mobile devices that were hitting the mainstream – the iPad had just been released and the iPhone was in full swing with its fourth generation.
So, Guvera built a platform for brands to engage with consumers that was very different from traditional advertising methods. A creative platform that powerfully combines music, brands and consumers.
Since 2010, our platform has allowed brands to sponsor a user’s access to music through a Brand Channel. Brand Channels are something unique to Guvera. They give a brand its very own entertainment channel – its own music identity – that incorporates branded content and keeps users engaged. We have the only music platform in the world where brands can build and host (and define themselves through) their very own music channel.
In 2013, Guvera anticipated another significant trend in the music industry: music consumers around the world were moving away from web-based download models and more readily accept streaming. By this point, mobile devices dominated everything, including entertainment. We invested heavily in building a cloud-based music streaming platform available on multiple platforms. This was supported by years of hard work and investment securing music rights from the biggest labels in the world (including important local labels), to ensure our users were able to enjoy the music and content relevant to them.
As a business model, streaming provided brands with a more economical and financially sustainable model for sponsoring content. This is due to the cost comparison between a music download and music streaming, as streaming is far more economical for brands to sponsor.
Strategically important is the fact that our competitors have focused primarily on securing subscriptions with limited advertising access. Guvera, on the other hand, has invested heavily to secure the rights that specifically accommodate our brand-funded model – and are very much in line with our focus on providing users with brand-funded, free access to music.
Brand-funded and free, because, we understand that more than 90 per cent of the music streamers in the world do not want to pay for music. Through years of research, development and market testing, we have built a product that offers people what they want, and, at the same time, allows brands to genuinely engage with their consumers and, most importantly, ensures artists and rights holders are paid for the art that makes all of this possible.
From our perspective, brands add considerable value to our users’ experience by offering exclusive and engaging content that makes the platform even more immersive. People are drawn into the platform to listen to music, and they discover compelling music-related content – like interviews with top acts (i.e., RUFUS, Coheed & Cambria and Arty), album and concert reviews, exclusive photo galleries and video series – and here they stay. Guvera is sticky: it’s an epic entertainment offering that always delivers – to music lovers, artist and rights holders, brands and for Guvera. This is why brands come on board and stay with us.
And, in keeping with our nose for trends, we have developed a forward-looking social functionality, that, although nascent, is evolving in to a significant attraction. Guvera’s social features allow users to share their favourite songs and playlists with friends and followers. Brands, too, can reach out to their followers with newly created and curated playlists and exclusive (highly targeted) offers and promotions.
As we look to focus primarily in key emerging markets, we take with us a highly scalable platform that caters to brands as much as it does for music lovers, artists and rights holders. We offer our product in markets where smartphone adoption is growing rapidly alongside digital mobile advertising spends.
Since 2008, our approach has been thoughtful and tactical. We believe that we have built and licensed the music model of the future, one that delivers what consumers want from a legitimate music service.
Mass market platforms today are free, take Facebook, You Tube, Snapchat and Google, for example. The music industry is looking for a music service that also provides a brand or ad-funded model (alongside subscription if some users prefer that option). Guvera provides the brand-funded option like no other, and has spent years investing in the underlying business model to support this service.
Today, we look forward to focusing on market growth and rewarding music artists through our unique, different and better model.