Quantcast
This year, it is estimated that in the U.S. alone, total sponsorship spending by consumer brands for music festivals, tours and other campaigns will exceed $2 billion.
ARE CONSUMER BRANDS THE NEW RECORD LABELS?
A HITS Special Report by Sonicbids Founder/CEO Panos Panay
As long as there’s been art, there have been wealthy patrons that have sponsored artists. Many of the world’s biggest masterpieces would have never seen the light of day had it not been for some rich individual who funded its creation. Van Gogh, Mozart and Da Vinci, for example, all had wealthy backers.

In the modern music business, these patrons were once major record labels which plucked artists from obscurity and made them into mass-consumed mega-stars. They funded their time in the studio (production), paid money to distribute their records at retail (distribution), paid money for visibility at outlets like radio and TV (promotion) and hired managers, agents and publishers to help maximize each artist’s income potential (professional connections). In return, they kept the lion’s share of each artist’s income and held the keys to the kingdom called a “viable music career.”

With the advent of the Internet and the shift of consumer tastes from mass to niche, labels have experienced a steady erosion of their incomes over the past eight years and consequently have ceased playing the traditional role of art patron for developing musical talent. At the same time, artists have used the Internet to replace labels’ production, distribution, promotion and professional connections roles with iPods and iPhones, and sites like CD Baby, MySpace and Sonicbids.

In their place—as both art patrons and popular taste curators—are the major (and niche) consumer brands, and their ad agencies, who have figured out that music can help them sell whatever product they produce, be it coffee, electronics, carbonated beverages, clothing, video games, hand bags, financial services, insurance, etc. This year, it is estimated that in the U.S. alone, total sponsorship spending by consumer brands for music festivals, tours and other campaigns will exceed $2 billion.

Even more promising for independent (or empowered) artists, recent years have seen a steady shift of this sponsorship money towards more “niche” artists who do not yet have an entrenched public image like say, 50 Cent or Celine Dion. Why? Increasingly, companies are realizing that coveted young consumers, coming of age today, demand authenticity from the brands they will endorse—a  trait most associated with independent, non-major label artists.

In the past couple of years on Sonicbids, we have seen large consumer brands ranging from Coke, Burger King, Converse, Jeep and Fisher-Price, to more niche ones like Harpoon Beer, Zippo, Jagermeister and JanSport, all post gig listings looking to connect with and sponsor in one way or another independent bands.

So, why look for a record label contract when so much money out there is being invested by consumer brands that are not even looking for a share of your future income and rights to your first-born?

My advice is that if Sony Records comes knocking, ask them to speak with Sony PlayStation instead. It’ll take you much farther and with less trade-offs.

Panos Panay is the founder and CEO of Sonicbids, the website that helps bands get gigs and music promoters to book the right bands. He launched the site out of his apartment in Boston, MA in 2001. Sonicbids’ current membership exceeds 160,000 bands and 14,000 music promoters from all over the world. You can follow Panos’ blog at www.sonicbids.com/PanosBrew.

For information on HITS current talent search on SonicBids, go to www.sonicbids.com/hitsmagazine

PRIMARY WAVE CHECKS INTO
THE FOUR SEASONS
Mestel walks like a man. (10/22a)
UMG IPO SET FOR '22
And Q3 figures look good as well. (10/21a)
TOP 20: TAY'S FOLKLORIC RUN CONTINUES
A Swift return to #1. (10/21a)
REVENUE CHART: “LEMONADE” AND OCEAN SPRAY
The Rumours are true. (10/23a)
GRAMMY PREVIEW:
PHOEBE BRIDGERS
Could she be this year's left-field anointed one? (10/23a)
RAINMAKERS 2020
Bring your umbrella.
GRAMMY OUTLIERS
Mulling possible surprises.
HALLOWEEN IN QUARANTINE
Why not wear a mask indoors?
ELECTION 2020
What drugs will help us get there?
 Email

 First Name

 Last Name

 Company

 Country
CAPTCHA code
Captcha: (type the characters above)