These Trends Will Drive the Convergence of Music and Brands in 2024 and Beyond

From health & wellness to AI, hyper-personalization, nostalgia and more

Music and brands are more connected than ever, and growing closer all the time. Below, we look at some trends and social drivers providing momentum.

Health & Wellness 

There's no question that our society is facing an unprecedented crisis around mental health. This precipitates fresh approaches to aligning culture and cultural pursuits with self-care. For example, Gen Z wellness platform Woo [with input from Rebecca Jolly, one of this essay's authors] created a popular content series called "Higher Frequencies." The initiative is designed to bring the power of audio-based healing into people's homes and reach a mainstream audience. Working with a wellness expert, pop artists including Beabadoobee, Flume and Ashnikko created tracks and mixes along soothing frequencies, incorporating neuroaesthetic design.

We've also seen music therapy used in clinical settings to treat a vast spectrum of injury, trauma and cognitive issues. A recent study by Imperial College London, along with the Centre for Psychedelic Research, engaged a team of music pros and producers from Swell Studio to design a program for chronic pain sufferers who had ingested Psilocybin, a psychoactive compound modeled on the naturally occurring "magic mushroom." The goal: enhance the effect of the treatment.

The tech world has actually been capitalizing on this approach for some time. Apps like Calm and Headspace weave music through their meditation practices, and Moonai seeks to alleviate menstrual pain symptoms with relaxing sounds. Also, labels such as Heart Dance Records and Nova Earth are specializing in music designed for wellbeing.


Spotify's February 2023 launch of its DJ feature, billed as "an AI DJ right in your pocket," was a big leap forward for hyper-personalization in music. Media and entertainment companies are seeking to better serve users by basing content on consumer habits and profiles. What makes Spotify’s DJ different? It's essentially "trainable," anticipating listener desires.

Spotify employs Generative AI to add context, bringing folks deeper into the songs they already love. The question becomes, "Do people want hyper-personalization all the time?" Terrestrial radio remains strong because we enjoy getting news and music context from DJs and studio guests. Being part of such live, in-the-moment experiences can foster strong communities. It will be interesting to see how the convergence of hyper-personalization and community evolves. 

Music at the Core of Brand Building 

The first branded song, "Have You Tried Wheaties?" by General Mills, hit the airwaves in 1926. Since then, Coke, Pepsi, Vans, Adidas, AmEx, Apple and more have used tunes to drive awareness, strengthen consumer relationships and weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life. 

This year represented two tipping points. First, we saw TikTok ingratiate itself to the masses. This prompted other platforms and marketers to think more strategically around music. Some are repeating rewards—just look at Taco Bell and Burger King

A second tipping point involved McDonald's, with the fast feeder named one of 2023's most innovative brands by Fast Company. This reflects the role music has played in helping the chain enhance its cultural relevance. McD's recognized that by partnering with music artists—Travis Scott, J Balvin, Saweetie, BTS—to create "Famous Orders," its target audience would join the conversation and ultimately experience the meals for themselves.


A stroll down any high street shows that the '80s and '90s are back in vogue. You'll spot teens in Von Dutch caps, low-rise jeans and slip dresses. Classic songs are becoming instantly recognizable to youth audiences through TikTok trends and content. Who can forget the 1985 track that lit up contemporary playlists—Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill," thanks to Stranger Things and social hype.

And that's not the only example. From Geico's "Scoop There It Is" to Uber Eats Super Bowl revival of one-hit-wonders, nostalgia is the gift that keeps on giving.

Music AI 

AI has been a hot topic in music industry and creator circles for some time, and ChatGPT has amplified the debate around tech replacing musicians and crafting songs. Google has even released an experimental AI tool called Music LM that can turn text descriptions into melodies.

Most likely, the practical role of AI will focus on embellishing or creating derivatives of artists' work. Grimes has already embraced this concept by launching Elf.Tech, designed to help people duplicate her voice to make hybrid tracks.

Innovations in music can reshape culture. Naspter and Spotify changed the landscape, providing artists with easier ways to distribute their output. AI appears poised to make a similar impact.

The Roland 808 was a drum machine released in 1980 that enabled early hip-hop creators to tap out beats that defined a generation and changed pop culture forever. Does AI have the power to help artists create new genres in similar fashion? Why should someone be limited to expressing themselves based on their physical ability to hit the correct keys on a piano or strum a guitar? 

AI won't eliminate the need for emotion, inspiration and talent in music. More likely, it will provide new vehicles for heightened expression, pumping up the volume on brand messages in fresh and exciting ways.

Profile picture for user Joe Belliotti and Rebecca Jolly
Joe Belliotti and Rebecca Jolly
Joe Belliotti is SVP of strategy at Mayflower Entertainment. Rebecca Jolly founded Sounds Nice.

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