Inside Sony Music’s in-house creative agency

Sony Music is making a bet on in-house creative with a 6-month-old internal agency that it’s hoping will bring together previously siloed marketing efforts.

Based in London, 4th Floor Creative is a 60-person shop that brings together Sony Music U.K.’s in-house production studio, as well as departments dedicated toward digital, brand partnerships across TV and film and data and analytics, which were once separate entities that did not always blend easily, according to Adam Cardew, digital director of the company, who is part of a team of 15 people who make up 4th Floor Creative’s digital team.

The brand did not work with an external agency before, instead choosing to parcel out work through myriad departments. It’s a different tack from other brands, which are mostly choosing to move creative work away from external agencies and into in-house shops. It’s, of course, a growing trend: In the U.S., the ANA estimates that the number of brands with in-house agencies is growing substantially, with 78 percent of brands creating some kind of internal structure, versus 58 percent in 2013.

Since Sony’s agency launched, it has been creating official music videos in tandem with its music label partners such as Columbia, RCA and Ministry of Sound for artists such as Tom Grennan, Paloma Faith, Little Mix and George Ezra, but also marketing assets and campaigns for artists that align with their new albums and build out their social and web presences.

“When we work in a more synchronized way across those departments,” said Cardew, “we can make our artist campaigns bigger and build bigger audiences.” The services are primarily for Sony Music’s U.K. artists, but also for Sony Music U.S. artists.

The latest focus of the shop is building out an in-house audio studio so that the agency can record with artists in-person, and produce everything from voice-overs to podcasts, said Cardew. One of its latest pieces of work was an Alexa skill for Alexa with popular British pop girl band Little Mix that launched two weeks ago. With the in-house audio studio, the company can have the band come record in-person, record enough audio assets for weeks of content at one time and promote them ahead of the release of the band’s new album LM5, out on Nov. 16.

The decision to create a skill for the band came about from the realization that the band is one of the most requested artists on Amazon’s Alexa, an insight that the company says came about because it was aligning all of its different sources of information under one agency in the company.

Cardew said the audio studio is fully operational and several projects are underway. “It enables us to offer our artists more when it comes to connecting them with audiences,” he said. “We can connect with audiences in the streaming era.”

Image Courtesy of Sony Music

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