New CEO of MassiveMusic North America interviewed
Transform magazine caught up with Joe Belliotti, newly appointed North America CEO of audio branding agency, MassiveMusic. Belliotti discussed his past experience as head of global music at Coca-Cola, his expectations and ambitions for the new role, and how audio branding has grown over the past years.
I started in the music publishing industry in LA, before moving into the intersection of music and brands when I helped start an entertainment marketing agency in NYC. My business partners and I started reaching out to brands and helping them connect with popular culture through music, and that’s where I first came into contact with Coca-Cola, which, subsequently, became a client of ours. In 2010, I joined Coca-Cola full time as the head of global music and began focusing on building plans for how we use music strategically around the world to grow the brand. The way we used music in Southeast Asia for example was very different than in Latin America, the U.S. and Europe. Coke is a global brand, so we had to keep that consistency across all touchpoints and make it locally relevant at the same time. The projects were so unique. For example, we had a programme called Coke Studio, a weekly TV show that was started in Pakistan and scaled throughout the Middle East and Africa where artists would come together and collaborate and create new music. It brought cultures together, and it was really special to see that happen through music.
A decade later, here we are. In January this year I joined Songtradr, which acquired MassiveMusic later in June. I enjoyed my time at Coca-Cola and learnt a lot, and while it was great being in-house for some things, such as being in more control over budgets, it wasn’t a hard decision for me to move agency-side. I felt like there were so many brands that could benefit from having the music capabilities they don’t necessarily have internally. I love the idea of us being able to function like the music department most brands don’t have. Pre-pandemic, brands were spending $18-20 billion in sports marketing and less than $2 billion in music. Music is a huge passion point for so many people across all demographics and geographies but most brands don’t have the capability to figure out how to leverage music to drive their strategies. With MassiveMusic, I feel I can really make a difference and help multiple brands figure out how to do this. It’s a challenge for every single brand, every type of category and every brand personality, as they all have a unique approach to music and sound that we must develop.
With these challenges come great ambitions. When I look at music and sound, I see them as a competitive advantage. Once brands have a strategy around music and sound, it opens so many opportunities to amplify and extend their marketing into new places. MassiveMusic is one of the few, if the only company, that can provide all the music solutions that brands and agencies need. From creating and finding music, to sonic branding, to coming up with creative ways to partner with the music world – we cover it all. We have deep expertise not only in music, but also in brand marketing. I can’t wait to take it to the next level, and I know there are lots of opportunities to do so with audio branding growing exponentially over the past few years.
People have always recognised brands by their logo or their packaging but now, in this growing audio-only world, they need to recognise brands with their ears. More than half of all searches now are voice-led, heightened by the number of voice-activated devices in our homes. We’re engaging with much more audio content on podcasts, audiobooks, and music streaming. It’s become strategically imperative for brands to be thinking of audio.
We are moving from isolated sonic logos to more sophisticated and comprehensive sonic identity systems. Sonic logos are a big part of the sonic identity of a brand, which helps dictate music that’s being used in advertising, on social, and in digital experiences. Audio is everywhere: there’s never been a better time to work in this sector.