• Transform magazine
  • March 28, 2020


Lantern brands classical music streaming service, Primephonic

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Invented in 1877 by American businessman Thomas Edison, the sonograph allowed live sound to be recorded and played back for the first time in history. Although rudimentary, constructed from a cylinder and tin foil, Edison’s discovery paved the way for what was to become a fruitful and ever-changing industry. And, with the past two decades seeing a cultural shift towards internet-enabled music streaming, a new era of brands has emerged to complete the next chapter in the history of recorded music.

Launched in 2014, Primephonic is a classical music streaming service, offering around 100,000 classical music pieces in high quality formats across a dynamic array of styles. Through marrying the most historic form of music, classical, with the forward-facing innovation of a contemporary streaming service, Primephonic aims to change perceptions of classical music as the preserve of a certain demographic. It also hopes to update users listening habits to be more relevant to the 21st century.

With its identity, logo, digital and advertising, social media and tone of voice rebranded from July 2017 by London-based brand design agency Lantern, the Primephonic brand is disruptive while recognising the gravitas of the product it provides. “Classical music has long fought a reputation of being elitist, uncool and the preserve of the old and educated,” says Ryan Tym, director at Lantern. “Primephonic exists to challenge that view and reinvent the genre, offering barrier-breaking services and experiences.”

And, Tym explains, one of the key ways Lantern achieved a creative yet unique brand identity for Primephonic was through the agency’s use of creative writing. With bespoke copy accompanying Primephonic’s photography-led advertising, a subtle contrast is created between the imagery grounded in real life, and the more whimsical promise of, for example, ‘Journey through the solar system in seven movements.’ Tym says, “We captured a narrative that expresses how twelve simple notes can be arranged with a spellbinding ability to immerse and inspire, to divide and disrupt.”

A new tagline for Primephonic, also created by Lantern, reflects the unique emotional experience classical music can bring to the listener – as well as being a play on words. ‘For life on an epic scale’ pairs with the image-led digital and print advertising to emphasise the place of classic music for everyone across all walks of life. And, from the social media platforms to the logos, the brand’s connection to classical music is a clear thread. “The icon was designed to reflect the five horizontal lines of a music stave, acting as a foundation for all classical music pieces,” says Lantern.

“Two staves have been abstracted, interlocking to form a play icon, helping to reflect the sense of amplification and epic scale that customers feel when interacting with the Primephonic brand.”

A set of brand guidelines also developed by Lantern ensures that, going forward, Primephonic is able to consolidate its brand across all touchpoints – an important consideration given the variety of platforms on which streaming services are now available. Sharri Morris, head of marketing at Primephonic, says, “Lantern just get it. Their creativity and vision elevated our company goals with ease and focus. They were instrumental in expanding our brand, strengthening our identity and core and bringing clarity to our messaging. Thank you for bringing it to life on an epic scale!”

The history of recorded sound is vast. But, while the past 20 years has seen a seismic shift in almost all facets of the music industry, the ability of classical music to move people in unique and emotive ways remains as strong as ever. Through careful research and intelligent insight, Lantern and Primephonic has captured the enduring nature of classical music while recognising the need to dispel the myths surrounding the genre to new audiences. Perhaps the next chapter in the history of classical music has arrived.


Primephonic's social media platforms


Primephonic brand guidelines