Even if terrestrial radio still has the bulk of audience, the growth – and ability to target – is in streaming audio. And an international brand like Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos needs its tune to reverberate across a global stage.
This is one of the reasons why it signed on to use a native ad product called Promoted Music Experiences that launched Monday from Rdio, a music streaming service active in 85 countries.
“Our digital strategy incorporates creating great content to engage with fans in the platforms where they have the most affinity,” said Matthew Watts, the company’s director of music and marketing. Hard Rock, which operates hotels and casinos around the world, needed to streamline its global reach from a single hub.
Basically, the partnership will give Hard Rock a dedicated music channel (Pandora offers something similar) and have its customized company profile and branded creative shown to Rdio users on the home page feed.
Hard Rock – as one would expect given its theme – has partnered with music services in the past. In 2013, it launched “The Sound of Your Stay,” which curated music for hotel guests. In July, it launched a global mixing competition via Mixcloud, an online DJ platform.
But Rdio lets Hard Rock break into the world of digital streaming, said Watts. The brand had been searching for a way to connect with fans using streaming music services. (Watts declined to say how much Hard Rock is investing in digital audio compared to traditional media.)
“[Rdio] gives us the ability to showcase the sounds of Hard Rock Hotel and Casino properties globally, as well as showcase the various music events and partnerships we’ve been able to build and cultivate,” he said. For instance, Hard Rock can target regional messages about local music events through Rdios’ platform.
That regional focus is a differentiator for Rdio, which recently added 450 local radio stations to its platform – something competitors like Pandora and Spotify don’t offer.
Ultimately, Hard Rock hopes to drive engagement, traffic and awareness in locations where the partnership is launching – Mexico, India and the United States. Rdio provides metrics around how many plays a station receives, ad impression numbers and click-throughs to branded stations after it’s been showcased on the home feed.
“We want to drive people to our branded profile and station and keep them coming back because of the great music and experience,” Watts said.
Rdio didn’t disclose its monthly active users.