Mastercard expands sonic branding with ‘Priceless’ album

Live Brief:

  • Mastercard today (June 22) released its first-ever music album, according to a press release. “Priceless,” available now on Spotify, features original songs by 10 artists from around the globe that incorporate the melody of Mastercard’s brand sound.
  • For the release, the payments firm teamed with Beatclub, the music creator platform founded by super-producer Timbaland, who mentored creators as they remixed tracks. Mastercard will provide one-year memberships to the platform for up-and-coming creators from disenfranchised communities.
  • The album will be introduced at a launch party with partner Spotify, and represents Mastercard’s latest iteration of its sonic branding identity, which it launched in 2019.

Live Insight:

Mastercard’s “Priceless” album demonstrates how a brand can use its sonic identity to integrate with culture, an imperative for marketers looking to engage with younger consumers. The payments company in 2019 introduced its sonic brand identity as part of a larger rebranding effort that recognized the growing role of mobile and audio marketing.

For the “Priceless” album, the brand collaborated with producer Niclas Molinder to find artists that span cultures, languages ​​and genres who could turn the chirps of Mastercard’s melody into songs. The album features artists from the United Kingdom, Lebanon, Sweden, Colombia, Algeria, India, Australia, Slovenia and the US, potentially giving it a larger reach.

The global focus of the music campaign is similar to that of Sprite, which launched Sprite Limelight in June. The soda brand’s first unified global music program revolved around a hook and lyric produced by musician James Blake that was used by artists from around the world to create original songs.

In kind, Mastercard’s effort pairs the brand with an award-winning, hitmaking producer in Timbaland and his Beatclub platform, which seeks to connect creators and artists with record labels, music publishers and brands. Mastercard’s sponsorship of memberships for members of disenfranchised communities is in line with other purpose-driven efforts, especially around boosting underrepresented creators across the media and marketing landscape.

Since launching its sonic brand identity in 2019, Mastercard has used the sound as part of a full-length pop song and a TikTok campaign. The sonic brand identity remains central to Mastercard’s branding as audio marketing continues to grow, driven in large part by the growth of podcast ad spending, which is forecast by eMarketer to surpass $2 billion in 2023 and $3 billion by 2026.

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