Return of the Hustle Hits Shelves at SXSW: How to Master the Art of Marketing with Music 1055 words · 5 minute read

Michelangelo wasn’t given a walkthrough to sculpting his famous David. Nor was Frida Kahlo given a blueprint for her iconic self-portraits (other than a mirror, of course). Nonetheless, both artists were taught the core tenets of their respective craft — tips, tricks, and must-do’s to evoke the desired response in the hearts of their audiences.

Finally, there is a book that provides that same fundamental framework for the art of marketing with music.

Return Of The Hustle book cover
Founder and Vice Chairman of Music Dealers, Eric Sheinkop has authored Return of the Hustle: The Art of Marketing of Music, released exclusively in the U.S. at SXSW on March 16, 2016 and featuring expert testimonial from Music Dealers clients and artists alike. Based on eight years of Music Dealers case studies and success stories, Return of the Hustle provides professionals in any industry with an invaluable handbook on best music practices in marketing and storytelling.

Of the numerous examples cited in the book, three Music Dealers case studies best illustrate how strong music strategy can drive real business results for a brand, TV show, film, or video game.

Pre-game the release of Return of the Hustle: The Art of Marketing with Music with a few key learnings from the stories that informed this first-of-its-kind theory on marketing with music.

McDonald’s “Celebrate with a Bite”

“Celebrate With A Bite”

The Brief. Music Dealers led a Sonic Identity Workshop for McDonald’s with its agency of record, DDB Chicago, to discover the true sound of the brand. Afterwards, we worked with the two teams on the brand’s 2014 Winter Olympics spot, “Celebrate with a Bite” — a beautifully edited ad that needed just the right song to make the story pop.

The Song. A New Zealand hip-hop/electro-pop band like no other, No Wyld broke onto our radar just as they released their second EP, Abstract, which included the anthemic track, “Odyssey.” Featured on indie music blogs like MTV Iggy, Pigeons & Planes, and Cassette Couture, the artist was in a prime place for brand partnership. With this in mind, we pushed to sync the song with the McDonald’s ad.

The ROI. According to AdWeek’s Lost Remote, the spot was the most searched ad on Google, Bing, and Yahoo! during the Olympics, and generated just under 500,000 searches within minutes of airing. Additionally, the campaign drove 18% sales increase in Chicken McNuggets, over a declining baseline, and catapulted No Wyld into a record deal because of their subsequent success on Shazam and Spotify.

“Brands are realizing there’s actually a lot of marketing to be gained by associating positively with these artists rather than just using them for their chain. So I think we’ll see a lot more expanded for music, like how Beats by Dre really works with artists and develops and fosters relationships” — Joe Pascoe, No Wyld

Airbnb “Belong Anywhere”

“Belong Anywhere”

The Brief. When travel accommodation tech company Airbnb began its brand relaunch, they decided to integrate music into its marketing strategy and positioning. Part of this process included finding an exclusive song that would embody the company’s new ethos of “belonging anywhere.”

The Song. A songwriting duo and lifelong indie artists, Moth & the Flame worked with Music Dealers to adapt an original song into a custom anthem for Airbnb’s campaign — a song written from the heart, without thinking about any brand or brief in particular at first. This authenticity helped make their song, “Follow Me,” the perfect pair with Airbnb.

The ROI. Airbnb supported a comprehensive campaign behind “Follow Me,” including a live performance by the band at Airbnb HQ, a landing page, and a music video. This commitment stimulated news stories about “Follow Me” from 182 countries, when at the time the brand was only present in 191, thus encouraging global awareness during a pivotal brand relaunch.

“You want a piece of music that has more value than perhaps an instrumental that took some guy in a studio an afternoon to knock up. Once something becomes a song, with a theme, with a vocal, it has something more behind it. It has three dimensions rather than two” — Jason Tarver, Moth & the Flame

Ubisoft “Watch Dogs”

The Brief. Set in a fictionalized Chicago, Ubisoft’s video game Watch Dogs blends a whirl of modern day storylines, including an in-game music discovery app called “Song Sneak” that works like the real-world app, Shazam. To make the game feel like a true Chicago setting, Watch Dogs needed real music that people would actually want to “Song Sneak” — so stock tracks would obviously not do.

The Song. Music Dealers provided 12 of the 50+ songs featured in Watch Dogs’ “Song Sneak” app, including “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by JDP. A true 21st-Century artist, JDP has secured substantial success through DIY means, including working with an independent team and booking shows by himself, which earned him press in publications like URB Magazine’s 15th annual “Next 100” issue.

The ROI. Shortly after the game’s release, players discovered “Where the Sidewalk Ends” on YouTube, where it was viewed several hundred times a day throughout the first months following the game’s release, with no prior promotion. This encouraged JDP to repost the project for digital purchase on iTunes, giving Watch Dogs fans another way to connect with the game’s experience as well.

“I feel like they were going for authenticity when they were choosing songs. They were choosing songs that really conveyed what the game was about, what the feel was that they were trying to go for, and they wanted to capture the essence of: if you were in Chicago, what were you probably listening to?” — JDP

For nearly a decade, we’ve had the honor and privilege of working with some of the best brands and brains in the world. Together, we’re shaping the art of marketing with music and shaking up the industry — and it all started because our all-star roster of clients entrusted us with their projects. The revolutionary music campaigns that followed have helped shape this framework for music supervision, one which will hopefully inspire even more greatness between storytellers and musicians everywhere.

Order your copy of Return of the Hustle: The Art of Marketing with Music by Eric Sheinkop, Founder and Vice Chairman of Music Dealers, at and master the art of marketing with music yourself.