A plate as a gift or free music for lovers of cola and ready breakfasts

    We recently talked about the music that came with Windows , as well as the compilations and albums that were distributed to journalists along with the first iPods . Today we’ll talk about the music that came with the products of other brands popular in popular culture. Photo by William White Unspalsh Gift music is not a new phenomenon, or even digital. Experiments in this direction began much earlier than it seems at first glance, even before the middle of the 20th century. However, due to the fact that most of the free music ended up in the basket shortly after purchase, the amount of information about these promotions is minimal. But here are the examples we managed to find:

    Vacuum lamps and shellac

    In the 1930s, Triotron, a European manufacturer of vacuum tubes for players and radios, released a series of free shellac plates .

    Little is known about them, but most likely they were handed out as advertisements so that users could test their equipment. Among these records are Johann Strauss’s “Blue Danube” recording and a short audiobook, “Secrets of Beauty and Healthy Sleep”.

    For that time, the move was quite radical because of its comparative novelty and the high cost of producing records.

    Home Hi-Fi and Cassettes

    From the recollections of eyewitnesses, it is known that in the second half of the century, sellers of audio equipment along with equipment often gave away free records. Subsequently, manufacturers of audio cassettes took advantage of this principle - this is evidenced by the vintage Maxell advertisement (p. 17 of Billboard magazine for October 1979), aimed at distributors.

    With every three empty cassettes, one of three branded compilations was given as a gift - rock, jazz, or classic. They were touted as "limited edition stereo recordings," but their contents were quite mundane. The rock record had songs by Hall & Oats and The Alan Parsons Project, the jazz playlist was led by Chick Koria and Oscar Peterson, the classical record was decorated with compositions performed by British guitarist Julian Brim and the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra.

    Such a move — handing out ready-made notes when buying empty cassettes — may seem counter-intuitive, but it is not. At that time, there was high competition among cassette manufacturers. This format was intended primarily for copying music from other sources. Therefore, records with "test music" helped the buyer to impartially compare the characteristics of different cassettes.


    Music even came with Kellogg's breakfast boxes. These were hit collection cassettes, CD-samples from Motown, and even a CD calling for a healthy lifestyle under the brand of the American Heart Association .

    Another breakfast cereal maker, Post Cereals, used a similar advertising move, but with a radically different design. In the advertisement, they promised that each box of their product included a record with the hit of The Monkees. But instead of distributing full records, the manufacturer simply applied sound tracks to cardboard. The buyer needed to “cut out” the song, and the result often left much to be desired. You can look at the disc and listen to how it sounded in this video:

    Great Shakes produced a special dry mix that turned an ordinary glass of milk into a drink that looked like a real milkshake. The main target audience for their products was young people. Therefore, to record advertising jingles, the company hired popular rock bands, including The Who and Yardbirds, beloved by many to this day.

    As a promotion, the company even handed out to the customers records with the songs of the aforementioned artists called “Great Shakes Shake-Out”. On them you could hear artists such as Arita Franklin and Simon & Garfunkel .

    Carbonated drinks also often resorted to this marketing technique. In 1988, 7Up, in cooperation with MTV, held a promotion, during which a branded cassette was attached to two-liter bottles with a drink . The contents of the compilation, titled “MTV Hot Hits From Cherry 7Up”, matched their title — it featured songs from popular bands like Bon Jovi and The Breakfast Club.

    Three years later, Coca-Cola did the same. In boxes with 12 cans of the drink, you could find a three-inch disc from the Coca Cola Pop Music series. In total, four such discs were released, but in their content they lost to the competitors - the only widely known artist whose rights to the songs the company received was Celine Dion .

    Probably, the promotion was nevertheless considered successful, because in 1992 the company released another three-disc collection - and on these records you could find The Best by Tina Turner, Barcelona by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe, compositions by Eric Clapton and Elton John. And «Coca-Cola Is The Music» 1993 lit and performers "heavier" in the face of Meat Loaf and Alice In Chains.

    Photo Clem Onojeghuo Unspalsh
    The distribution of music was criticized all the time that it existed. Many believe that it harms performers and devalues ​​their work. Therefore, most popular musicians were wary of such advertising, even despite the commercial success of such moves. And, in general, they were right - in this situation there is too much risk of being imposed on the public. In the end, the largest event of this kind - the distribution of the U2 album - turned millions of people against the group.

    Over time, such marketing moves have become more rare. Of course, even now we can say that the low cost of subscribing to streaming services makes all their contents a “shareware” application for your smartphone. However, streaming users do not have the feeling that they were “imposed on the music with the phone,” - unlike buyers of cereals and soda, they can create their own playlist.

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