Nimble startups continue to change the music industry by capitalizing on the convergence between branding, technology, and entertainment. Case in point: F#, a New York company founded in 2012 with a mission to connect brands, musicians, and fans through playful experiences on social platforms like Facebook and Spotify. And F# is dead serious about providing a music-rich experience instead of predictable advertising, as F# CEO Dan Merritts revealed to me in an interview published today on Superhype.
“We’re providing brands an experience that is incredibly interactive — 15-times more interactive than typical digital advertising,” Merritts said. “And we are helping consumers discover music they might love.”
F#’s approach to music discovery is to help big brands like Jim Beam, Oreo, and Marriott embed themselves into social media. For example, to help Campbell Soup reach out to the Millennial generation, F# created an interactive Campbell’s “Go” Soup Spotify playlist that users could update by adding songs that fit different soup flavors.
Fans could also share their playlist additions on their Facebook walls (creating organic branding for Campbell’s) and unlock exclusive content such as coupons. The experience created not only organic reach for Campbell Soup but also the street cred that comes with being featured on the Colbert Report.
But F# does more than create advertising experiences; the company also personifies the smart, sometimes quirky, and always cutting-edge nature of digital music culture. Its employees live and breathe music. The company’s blog effectively captures the convergence between technology, branding, and music with entries ranging from an analysis of the future of audio advertising to an interview with the creators of Phloq, “a multichannel work composed to evoke the sensorial experience of a flock of birds taking off.”
In his conversation with me, CEO Dan Merritts shed light on F# and its culture Merritts is a product of Silicon Valley whose pedigree includes work with cloud computing pioneer Loudcloud and contextual ad firm Affinia. As his own blog demonstrates, Merritts is passionate about marketing, leadership, and user experience. He has also lived in or worked in more than 43 countries and is a self-described fan of Top 40 music. His is a story of passion and vision, as shown in the following Q&A:
I gather you are all music enthusiasts as I am. So what music is rocking your world?
I am a Top 40 guy — everything from Bruno Mars to anyone capturing the moment. Today has been an Owl City day because Owl City performs the Oreo Wonderfilled Song, which is featured in a Spotify experience we launched for Oreo today. We have a lot of technology and music enthusiasts at F#. Every day for two hours we turn over our office’s Sonos to one employee to host DJ a 2-hour session.
A glimpse inside F#’s New York office via F#’s Facebook page
We have a bunch of EDM (electronic dance music) fans among our employees, who play underground and mainstream EDM. One of our copywriters is a big movie buff. He’s taken over the DJ station and plays music from different movies. It’s a lot of fun trying to figure out which movie goes with the song.