DDB’s ECD discusses how music streaming sparks creativity

Music is a great companion for creative industry practitioners. Whether they need to hit a deadline or relax at home, they can resort to various genres of music to help create or disconnect them from the world. Marketing magazine is working with JOOX to invite creative industry practitioners to talk about their music consumption habits, and how to better leverage music in marketing.

In our third interview for the Marketers’ Music Mind series, we talk to Jamal Hamidi, executive creative director of global business at DDB.

A guitarist and songwriter after working hours, Hamidi’s taste is a bit different from his counterparts of the same generation. 

“I am giving away my age by mentioning that I’m a fan of Golden Age hip hop, as well as Indie and Britpop bands, with a soft spot for grunge. But I am a bigger fan of British rock in the 1960s and the 1970s. (For example), The Kinks, ELO, Pink Floyd, and The Beatles. I blame my mum for this,” he says. 

The Beatles tops the list of his favourite music acts, and he emphasises his love for Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and George Harrison as individual artists. He spends plenty of time studying The Beatles, and says that he can always learn something new from listening to the group’s music. However, he relies on other totally different types of music when he needs to hit deadlines.

“When the task calls for focus, I’ll go for some classical music, maybe some (music from) Philip Glass when I’m feeling even more pretentious than usual,” he says. 

For some tasks, he doesn’t particularly feel like doing, he will even choose some hardcore hip hop or occasionally some metal to help him get through. 

As a practitioner in the creative industry, Hamidi also uses music in his works. Recently, he and his colleague worked on a project where they needed to define the creative tone they wanted, and thought the right piece of music would be the guide that set the tone for the visuals and writing. Then they spent time listening to tracks on a music streaming platform, and coasted through songs that had similar vibes. 

When it comes to the influence of music streaming platforms, he says: “It’s hard to remember what the world was like before music streaming. It’s not just the variety of music offered or the immediacy of accessing it, but the way that streaming platforms recommend and lead you to new content has become an integral part of our everyday music consumption.”

Taking JOOX as an example, the music streaming platform utilises AI machine learning technology to analyse users’ habits, behaviours and preferences. Listen to a few songs on JOOX, and the system will then learn, analyse and recommend music of similar genres to you – users are able to find new, unexpected content and even hidden gems on the platform which may inspire creative thinking for marketing practitioners.


Another uniqueness of JOOX is that the platform is way beyond providing music. The platform offers interactive entertainment experiences for users such as its stellar karaoke features, which has attracted brands to collaborate with JOOX, including Nestea and Oishi Su-Pa under PARKnSHOP, in launching branded karaoke contests targeting younger generations as their customers.

“Before streaming platforms, it was near impossible to practically and affordably sample new music the way we do now. And this makes streaming platforms a useful tool for creative inspiration, one that we should all probably use more,” he adds. 

Gone are the days when people relied on cassette tapes, CDs or mp3 players to listen to their favourite songs. According to the latest International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s Global Music Report, music streaming revenue accounted for 56.1% of the overall recorded music revenue for the first time ever, seeing a 22.9% increase to US$11.4 billion. 

This phenomenon was predominantly driven by paid streaming services, which recorded a significant increase in revenue (24.1%), and in the number of paid streaming subscribers globally to 341 million (33.5%). The official data released earlier by JOOX also suggests the company has seen a 22% year-on-year increase in paid subscriptions, with monthly active users across Asia also seeing an exponential growth of 533% over the past five years.

As music can influence people’s emotions, brands can put it to use in any campaign or initiative. But Hamidi says: “We see brands and their agencies use a song without really making it an integral part of storytelling. Emotionally powerful music is so often turned into an audio wallpaper. On the other hand, what we also hear are a lot of clichés in the content.” 

According to Hamidi, the crux of leveraging music is to use it artistically as a meaningful part of a brand’s storytelling.

Speaking about JOOX specifically, he says the platform is working to build a reputation for being locally relevant in the markets it operates in, which is appealing to a lot of brands. 

Currently, JOOX employs local editorial teams across its offices to stay in touch with the local music scene and present new trends to users. A localised user experience is not only about language, but also about features such as mobile karaoke with voice-only and video karaoke features. To further bolster its position as a platform with localised content, JOOX provides a greater depth of content from the local scene than its competitors from across the globe.

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These offerings help international brands strengthen connections with local users as JOOX aims to offer them a distinctive cross-platform, cross-border brand value proposition, including an easy, yet all-in-one advertising hub, and unmatched access to consumers around the region.

“The important thing is that finding the right piece of music helps you zero in on an attitude that you want to creatively convey,” he says. 

He also shares an iconic use of music in a brand’s content, which could act as a good reference for marketers. “Since the 1980s, (George Gershwin’s) Rhapsody in Blue has gone with everything that United Airlines has done. You hear it in their ads, at their check-in counters, when you walk onto the plane, and on their in-flight entertainment systems. They’ve named uniform colours after it, invited people to remix it, and even squeezed an orchestra onto a plane to play it.”

For each one of our Marketers' Music Mind features, Marketing is collaborating with JOOX to produce a bespoke playlist based on our interviewee’s answers for our readers. Scan the QR code to see what we made and enjoy!

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This content was sponsored by JOOX.


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