Unsurprisingly our top 10 music providers feature was incredibly well read. We promised at the time a part two that would give a little background on each and explain some of the reasoning why they made the top 10, so here it is….
- Playnetwork, Seattle, USA
- Immedia Broadcasting, Newbury, United Kingdom
- Mood Media, Europe
- Sunflower Music, London, United Kingdom
- Notice, Amsterdam, United Kingdom
- POS Medien, Germany
- DMX Music, USA
- Candy Rock (TSG), Chesterfield, United Kingdom
- Imagesound, Chesterfield, United Kingdom
- USP Content, London, United Kingdom
These folks are probably the only true bespoke music profiling company left in the market place. They have a sophisticated programming engine that is managed and adjusted by people and not just left to do what some tick boxes say about genres etc. They have gained huge momentum in the last 5 years and are highly respected with international clients that include Starbucks, GAP, TGI Fridays to name just a few. Playnetwork have started to expanded outside of the USA and are becoming a major player in Europe and the Far East. We would go as far as saying that they are perhaps currently the only true global player.
The first real in-store radio suppliers that have had any success. Many companies have tried to do live radio since Hampson launched Asda FM in the 1990s but nobody has penetrated the market place like Immedia with rollouts that include Lloyds Pharmacy, HSBC, Spar and IKEA with some unique programmes created by their expert team of DJs.
Mood Media may be the largest music provider across Europe having merged with DMX Music in 2006 (formerly AEI Music) and having recently acquired Alcas (Europe’s Muzak franchisee) but with this size there are some downsides in terms of really bespoke music profiling. Mood Media boasts the widest range of music platforms and an office in almost every European country, and beyond, and are definitely one to watch under the control of new CEO, Jonathan Patrick formerly of MTV Europe.
Interestingly, Mood Media spends some time working with new and emerging artists (those who are yet to be signed to a label). Mood give them airplay with a wider reach than a commercial radio station and retailers are keen to be seen to support the arts. Did you know for example that Leona Lewis was an artist Mood Media was promoting through its networks prior to her winning the X Factor!
Although only a cool DJ led small company, Sunflower provide some incredibly powerful playlists to a number of trendy clients including Zizzi, Nandos, Sunglass Hut and Virgin Atlantic. They seem to have the ability to forge great relationships with clients who trust their judgement when delivering the right music for their brand, whatever the location.
They have produced some very quirky music blends that give the listeners a memorable experience, something that is a real art-form when you consider the wide range of dynamics involved with some of their customers.
These guys are definitely one to watch. From a humble on-hold marketing background in the 1980s where nobody could touch their programmes, they grew a great client base in the in-store audio business in the 1990s. They have a unique style and flair that oozes out of the team that they have assembled.
It is no wonder that they are wooing their customers with their in-store TV programmes and causing a stir with some of the major digital out of home players in The Netherlands.
POS Medien radio programmes are heard by large numbers of people across Germany. POS Median are experts in the in-store radio business and never cease to deliver great programming. Their clients have taken them into new markets that include France, Spain and Austria.
Perhaps the biggest in-store audio company today. We believe that the frequent change of company ownership (and company name) has inevitably started to take its toll and DMX has lost some of the edge it had.
There is no doubt that it can still churn out great music programming but it is no longer the leader it once was.
Candy Rock were the kings of in-store audio in the late 1980s and early 1990s. God knows how many tapes they used to churn out to be chewed up by the old 4 deck tape players but as the formats changed they lost some of their clients namely to Airplay (who no longer touch in-store audio preference for internal marketing and communications), TTL (who were merged into Imagesound) and AEI (who are now know as Mood Media).
Candy Rock has now been absorbed into TSG and provide much more than audio in the form of AV systems, lighting and a bit of in-store TV.
Having started out life as Muzak UK, Imagesound grew quite quickly, penetrating the UK market with a low cost Muzak satellite service that bypassed the need for one of the UK music licences – early clients included Superdrug, B&Q and JJB Sports.
More recently Imagesound have been growing through acquisition with TTL and Rolec in 2004, Musicstyling in 2006 and most recently TSC Music Systems (that added to their portfolio the likes of Montblanc, Alliance and Leicester, Orange, Caffe Nero and the rest of the McDonald’s estate).
Despite all this activity, their share price hasn’t been too kind with the trend being falling instead of rising and as we have mentioned a couple of times they have now decided to de-list from the UK’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM)
These folks do lots of work for the BBC especially Radio 5 and like Immedia Broadcasting mentioned earlier have some really good in-house studio and broadcast facilities. As reported back in January they have recently picked up Tesco Express as a customer to add to their incredibly good work with Channel HMV for the HMV retail chain.