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More than an ad agency: BETC launches Pop Records in partnership with Universal Polydor

Pop Records has been born out of BETC Pop, the agency’s content and pop culture arm. While many ad agencies are experimenting with new content ventures these days, from publishing books to brewing craft ales, what sets Pop Records firmly apart from such projects is its industry backing: with Universal Polydor behind it, the label’s output can have proper reach.

The deal was born out of a long-standing relationship between BETC and Universal (alongside other record labels). Music has played a significant role in many of BETC’s most successful ad campaigns, from The Chemical Brothers for Air France, to Disclosure for Lacoste. In recent years, BETC Pop (previously known as BETC Music) has also collaborated on unusual projects for Air France with artists including Sébastien Tellier.


Air France spot, featuring music by The Chemical Brothers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bu2ht9c-FFU
Lacoste ad, featuring music by Disclosure

Pop Records’ founders, Isabelle Tardieu, Fabrice Brovelli and Christophe Caurret also have a long history within the music industry, as managers, publishers, DJs and producers. The team will produce the music out of Pop Records (and develop the artwork and music videos for the artists), while Universal will promote and distribute it.

“At the moment, the story of music, and more widely, entertainment, is being re-written,” say Tardieu, Brovelli and Caurret. “As a modern agency, we feel that we have to be part of this story.”

The Pop Records team feel they are in a unique position to help artists break into the music industry. “Despite being deeply involved, we hope to be able to contribute by taking a step back when looking at the music industry, and put things in perspective,” they say. “Since our business not only relies on music, but also on advertising, we won’t be in the stress of pushing artists to release albums too quickly. Instead we will have time to do what we love the most – help artists develop, help them nourish their projects and let them craft it.”

Pop Records founders, from left: Fabrice Brovelli, Christophe Caurret, Isabelle Tardieu. Photo: Pierre Cauret
Pop Records founders, from left: Fabrice Brovelli, Christophe Caurret, Isabelle Tardieu. Photo: Pierre Cauret

And while it might be easy to assume that one of the goals of Pop Records is to link musicians up with the brands that BETC works with, the team stresses this is not the overall goal. “Collaborations with brands is not the objective for our artists,” they say. “We want to develop creative and credible projects. With our experience, we know that music and brand collaboration is a matter of good timing. If it happens too early for an artist, it will harm her or him, both in terms of credibility and audience. It might happen but it is not a goal in itself.”

Pop Records is based out of BETC Paris’ offices. Next year, the agency will be moving to a major new site in Pantin in Paris, which will feature a recording studio to be used by the label. It is currently in discussion with four artists in the UK and France and the team anticipate announcing its first signings in the coming months.

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