The Morning Badger (3/17/17): Marriott Becomes the “Cool Parent” and Goes to Coachella


Marriott at Coachella

The Coachella, the most popular U.S.-based music fest, takes place every April in Indio, California. While the festival always had their lion’s share of corporate sponsors and branded experiences, they’re adding something new this year. Marriott International ($MAR)¬†will bring tent-sized versions of their boutique hotels to the Coachella campgrounds, where Marriott and Starwood loyalty members must use their rewards points to bid on staying in the rooms. The highest bidder wins a stay in an air conditioned tent with a dedicated shower. While luxury tents are nothing new for the festival, branded luxury tents let Marriott advertise to potential new customers, while extracting more money from existing ones.

Coachella v. Urban Outfitters

Speaking of Coachella, the festival’s promoter Goldenvoice filed a lawsuit against Urban Outfitters ($URBN) for infringing on their trademark. Free People, an Urban Outfitters subsidiary, allegedly used the Coachella name on products without paying a licensing fee. Goldenvoice subsequently sent a cease-and-desist letter to UO, but were ignored. Coachella has an outstanding licensing agreement with H&M, a fast fashion competitor to Urban Outfitters.

Spotify’s Sound Business Decision

Spotify, the privately owned streaming music service, is changing their free product offering. In the future, the 50 million-plus Spotify Premium users will have access to exclusive albums. The other tens of millions of users on the company’s free tier will have to pony up $9.99 a month if they want access to those albums. Which albums are paid-only have yet to be determined, but other paid-only streaming services have released¬†exclusive albums for over a year now due to their lack of a free tier. Spotify will maybe (hopefully) be able to join their ranks this year.