Brands & Merch CMU Trends The Great Escape 2015

Trends: How to sell out gracefully – better brand partnerships

By | Published on Friday 29 May 2015

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The team from CMU Insights began the proceedings of each conference strand at The Great Escape this year by reviewing the part of the business under the spotlight. Taking those insights beyond the room, here we present a bullet point summary of the brands intro.

• The good news is: brands still like music, and see music as a way to engage consumers.

• The bad news is that many brands are drawn to big name artists with large audiences, though that’s not to say brands don’t also work with newer talent, either because it’s cheaper, or because they seek the ‘coolness’ that comes with new music.

• The cash value of brand deals varies hugely, with the biggest popstars usually seeing the most money.

• Brands might also offer product and exposure as well as, or instead of, cash. Some brands which have used music in their marketing for a number of years may be sitting on big databases of music fans.

• The brand’s key objective will always be to drive more sales of its products or services, and however much a brand claims to be in love with music, that will always be secondary (even if some people working at the brand think otherwise).

• Different brands will be seeking different things from their music partnerships, and it’s important to work out what any one brand is looking for.

• This might include: exposure to an artist’s fanbase, brand endorsement from the artist, association with something ‘cool’, access to tickets for corporate hospitality, access to tickets or content for promotions and deals, access to content to fill a brand’s social media or own music website, access to content for sync, and the opportunity to work in music for a marketing director who is also a music fan.

• One challenge for the music industry is that artists have multiple business partners, each of which control or have a vested interest in a different part of the business.

• If a brand wants content, tickets and artist endorsement, then label, publisher, agent, promoter, management and, of course, the artist, all need to be involved.

• Getting all parties to work together can be a challenge, which is why brands often look to middle-men brand agencies to help them navigate the industry.

• Though as labels, booking agencies, promoters and management firms all look to play this role, they too need to build alliances with other parts of the music business.

• So effective brand partnerships don’t just require a strong partnership between artist and brand, but also between the artist’s various business partners.