Small talk about music and entertainment drive Lyft culture deals

The ride-sharing app recently kicked off a formal partnership with Capitol Music Group.

Because musical taste is one of the surefire small-talk subjects on a Lyft ride, the company is putting a greater emphasis on entertainment industry deals.

It recently kicked off a formal partnership with Capitol Music Group, including an exclusive Beck performance at the label’s Capitol Studios in Los Angeles. Lyft invited around 100 selected passengers to the performance.    

Capitol Records and Lyft had worked together in the past to promote new works by Paul McCartney and Katy Perry. Now, Lyft is the official rideshare app for the label.

"Lyft riders and drivers make up a diverse population with a wide range of musical tastes. From Beck and Paul McCartney to Katy Perry and BJ the Chicago Kid," said Austin Schumacher, Lyft’s head of culture and entertainment. "We choose to focus our partnerships and artist selection around musicians and brands that align with our values and support our mission."

Lyft perceives music as an integral part of the company’s connection with passengers, as riders and drivers chat about music and concert-goers use rideshare options to get to and from shows.

From event sponsorships to influencer deals, brands have long looked to entertainer partnerships to build image, add some sizzle and connect more closely with consumers.

"The good ones are definitely impactful and can move the needle for a brand," said Brendan Shields-Shimizu, managing director at Observatory. "Authenticity is at the core of any partnership. Millennials/Gen Z are inundated with brand partnerships and see right through the ones that are just ‘pay to play’ whereas the ones rooted in shared brand values tend to be stronger and yield better brand results."

Lyft’s culture connections go beyond the music industry. In 2018, it launched Lyft Entertainment a creative development division that produces original content. Shows include comedian Kevin Hart’s "Lyft Legend" videos, where he goes undercover as a Lyft driver, as well as Billy Eichner’s web series, "Billy on the Street."

"Our approach in TV and film mirrors our music strategy in how we work with diverse creators that share our vision and values and can help tell our story in unique, entertaining ways," said Schumacher.

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