Music frames most of the events in our lives.
The first single you bought. That song playing when you shared your first intimate kiss? Tracks that motivated you through a challenging part of your life. Tunes that mark the sad passing of a friend or loved one.
Just before Christmas 2014, I read about the sad death of Joe Cocker. In fairness, he wasn’t my favourite artist. I grew up listening more to progressive rock than his style of pop. Recently I’ve grown older on Trance and Dance thanks to my involvement with Les Mills fitness classes.
But one Joe Cocker song still gives me butterflies and can bring a tear to my eye. His duet with Jennifer Warnes, “Up Where We Belong”.
A teenager in 1982, I first heard the song in the fantastic movie, “An Officer and a Gentleman” starring Richard Gere. Full of teenage angst, I sympathised with Gere’s character, Zack Mayo, trying to find his place in the world and trading kicks with Drill Sergeant Foley.
At the end of the film, he appears at the factory where his girlfriend Paula works. He’s dressed in his crisp, pristine white Navy uniform.
The power chords of the instrumental version of “Up Where We Belong” follow his footsteps as he seeks her out among the machines. And then Joe Cocker starts singing as Gere picks her up and carries her off to a better life.
Yes, it was a cheesy, but emotional scene which still makes me blubber like a child over thirty years on.
The track made such an impression on me that I chose it as the first song my wife and I danced to at our wedding.
When I heard of Joe Cocker’s death, I wanted to listen to “Up Where We Belong” again. I couldn’t find it. I knew I had the “Officer” soundtrack on CD somewhere, but I couldn’t see it anywhere in my boxes. I rifled through a pile of old, neglected 7 inch final singles to no avail. I couldn’t find it on my PC either.
As a last resort I opened the Spotify App on my iPhone and within seconds I was listening to that gravelly voice. My eyes became moist. What a wuss.
The reason for telling this story is I learned a business lesson from Spotify recent, when I interviewed Scottish Widows’ Esther Dijkstra for my podcast.
She used Spotify as an example of how customer’s perceptions change over time. She explained that in the era of vinyl and CDs everyone wanted to own a physical copy of their music.
IPods consigned many CD collections to the rubbish tip as people converted to digital copies. Now they only wished to own an MP3 file.
Spotify has changed things again. Now people don’t need to own the track. They just want to listen to it on demand.
Esther’s story resonated with me because I had only just given in and subscribed to Spotify. I was clinging on to the old way of doing things. Hoarding CDs. Filling my hard drive with MP3 files. I finally realised I didn’t need to that anymore. Now I had instant access to millions of albums.
It’s great fun searching for music that framed so many memories. I found recordings of concerts I’d been to see as a student. I didn’t even know they’d released them.
If you can show someone a better way of doing things, they’ll embrace it with enthusiasm eventually.
Thinking of protection insurance, we haven’t invented a better way of transacting business yet. People still associate protection with scary messages about death, disability and disease, long intrusive application forms, and declined claims. Whilst online processes have improved upon the experience, public perception remains the same.
In our world, we’re still selling vinyl or CDs. We haven’t given consumers a modern alternative. Some are trying. Beagle Street and UnderwriteMe are working on redefining the experience. But we haven’t discovered our Spotify.
Is there a protection Spotify out there waiting to lift protection up where it belongs?
Now it’s your turn:
Will we ever discover a seismic shift in proposition? Please leave a comment below or share a link to your own thoughts.
In the meantime here’s a link to the video of “Up Where We Belong.”