In 2020, anyone can be a record label — really, anyone. Joining the mix of hotels, airlines, big-box retailers, and Build-a-Bear, credit and debit card issuer Mastercard became the latest corporate brand to release original music when it announced “Merry Go Round,” its first-ever music single, on Tuesday.
“Merry Go Round,” which is the first single from an entire Mastercard album due later this year, will receive an official premiere at an iHeartRadio event at CES in Vegas on January 8th. The song “tells the story of a new beginning and fresh start enabled with Priceless [sic] possibility,” according to a press release from the company. Mastercard worked with Swedish artist Nadine Randle to “organically and authentically integrate the company’s brand values and sonic identity” into its first-ever music single. According to financial services company’s chief marketing officer Raja Rajamannar, the song was created out of an effort to recognize that “sound is our next frontier for brand expression.” The song will be available on major music-streaming services after its official release tomorrow.
It’s not as random a play as it seems. Over the past few years, dozens of corporations in various sectors have staked their claim in recorded music, betting on the continued rise of the business — driven by streaming services and new consumer tech like smart speakers and hi-res headphones — and on the increasing power of audio advertising on digital platforms. By releasing songs and albums, companies get to seem like champions of beloved artists and songwriters; the wave of new original songs also represents the evolution of the longstanding corporate radio jingle.
In addition to Randle, Mastercard collaborated on the track with Swedish songwriter and producer Niclas Molinder, who gave the following jumble of adjectives in a press release: “The launch of this sonic-integrated song project is one-of-a-kind and signals the way that music and consumer consumption is changing. The recognizable sonic sound architecture has an incredible way of transcending genres and geographies, while continually evoking excitement through its expressive melody. It’s a pleasure to work with Mastercard on this exciting project and I’m looking forward to more song releases soon.”