“Is Trolls World Tour the most important film of 2020?” wondered a piece in the Guardian earlier this week. That may sound like hyperbole, but the main point was that it’s the first big movie of the year that’s going straight to streaming (due to cinemas being closed).
If parents aren’t willing to shell out up to $20 to stream it – and bear in mind it’s competing with Netflix, YouTube and other digital entertainment for kids during the lockdown – it’ll send a clear message to Hollywood.
Anyway, that’s the context for the news that music-streaming services appear to be a key plank in the Trolls World Tour marketing strategy. In the UK, Spotify teamed up with Universal Pictures to launch a ‘Harmoniser’ website where people drag sliders representing the (musically-themed) different troll ‘tribes’ from the film – techno, pop, rock, funk and country – to create a personalised playlist. Well, mainly personalised: it appears whatever combination of sliders you choose, you still get the soundtrack songs by the film’s star Justin Timberlake. It’s not just Spotify though: in the US, Pandora has a collection of ‘mixtapes’ based on the characters from the film too.
The bigger point here: if animated family-friendly movies going straight to streaming becomes A Thing, it could be good news for the advertising revenues on the free tiers of music services like Spotify and Pandora.