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Southwest Airlines Wants to Be A Music Tastemaker

Southwest Airlines is known for trying to inject fun into air travel, such as employees at an airport gate creating a spontaneous karaoke moment or a flight attendant turning a routine safety speech into stand-up comedy. The $20 billion company embraces an undeniable quirkiness, which is saying something for an airline. So it makes sense for Southwest to rely on the power of music to build its brand, sometimes in unexpected ways.

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  • Consumers feel powerless to effect long-term improvements.
  • So an airline touting in-flight concerts without the passengers’ permission comes across as foisting upon travelers yet another uninvited change to air travel.
  • Rely on organic social media from passengers and musicians to tell the story of #Liveat35. The reactions of passengers in particular are more authentic and credible especially for passengers who might be skeptical.
  • Feature great music. Quality matters. People complain about unwanted advertising until they see a trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi pop up on their Facebook feeds. Well-curated artists who know how to handle an audience in such an unusual environment will help #Liveat35 gain the kind of viral attention Southwest Airlines wants. #Liveat35 musicians have included Nashville artist Devin Dawson, one of Rolling Stone’s 10 new country artists you need to know. Similarly, Valerie June is the type of hip artist who lends street cred to #Liveat35. June and Dawson are wise choices. Musical tastes are subjective, and any kind of program that relies on concerts will experience misfires, but interesting, high-quality music will win over passengers.
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