is Event Mixtapes

Marketers elevate background music as an event engagement and branding tool.

Have you spent time thinking about what your event or brand sounds like? Marketers are latching onto music’s digital renaissance and its accessibility, festivalization, and embracing the scientific evidence that links music to memories and sentiment to evolve their event strategy. And it all starts with the playlist—a soundtrack to a brand message, to an event personality.

RIMS (The Risk Management Society) last year used a playlist strategy to engage attendees before its event and get them fired up and in the mood for the experience in San Diego. The playlist was accessible on Spotify as well as Apple Music. Yellow Conference, a creativity conference for women, did the same with a Spotify playlist.

Brands are creating playlists to generate buzz, like Hamburger Helper did for April Fool’s Day with “Watch the Stove,” a five-track mixtape. The concept? To reach millennial males, typically listening to music in their dorm rooms while making Hamburger Helper meals. The brand enlisted up-and-coming local rappers and social influencers to create tracks. While it began as a “lighthearted” stunt, the program went viral, garnering 432,660,000 social impressions and 4,086,000 plays on SoundCloud.

Brands are also using playlists as internal engagement tools. Like Huge Inc., which enlisted its staff to curate mixtapes and top albums. Each month last year, employees shared their favorite tracks, compiling playlists that gave some insight into what was happening underneath the headphones in the office. Each of the mixtapes by month are downloadable on Spotify.

At events and in venues, apps like Musicstyling’s Discover App allow consumers to “preview” tracks from a meeting playlist and choose what they want to hear as well as request music to be played on-site. They’ll even be notified when their track is to be played. And if you’re looking to impact the moods of your attendees, look into solutions like, an app that creates “music for the brain” based on the user’s mood or needs. After selecting a desired mood, algorithms generate a playlist that “activates” alpha and beta waves to “relax, focus, meditate, nap or sleep.” Tip: Consider on-site sound booths and ties to wellness.

Through mixtapes, marketing messages translate easily from the live experience into the pockets of your audiences—and then, directly into their ears.

By Brent Turner and Rachel Kirkpatrick Boucher

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Brent is a member of the executive team for Opus, an experience agency that delivers flagship programs for 13 of the top 20 global brands.

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