Thankfully, most artists and fans realise that the important word there is ‘selling’ and not the other one. And, that you have to sell in order to have a career that is sustainable.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t be true to yourself and your art though. And you should. What it means is that in the new future of music landscape, sponsorship, advertising and endorsement become one of the ways that artists can find to earn a living from their art.
More importantly, these days, the companies that want to work with artists understand much better that not undermining the credibility of the artist is better for their mutual relationship and benefit.
This was not always the case as this brilliant article shows.
It has a load of examples of how musicians went much further than most would be happy to today and where the alignment of musician and brand is, at best, questionable.
Bear this in mind when you look for endorsement and sponsorship at any level – how will your fans react and what will it do to the long term image of the band. I believe that this applies even when you’re first starting out and trying to get free guitar strings from your local music store in return for backing them on your fliers or from the stage.
The music industry is in such rough shape that some of your favorite bands have resorted to selling automobiles. No, they aren’t hanging around in the lots at the local used car dealerships in clip-on ties and promising a limited-time offer, but they’re on television, licensing their songs and finding more ears than they ever could on the FM dial. It may be that what was once seen as selling out for cash, now just makes sense.“Because everything is so instant now and people seem to always have their laptops and smart phones with them when they’re watching TV, when a song that they like comes on in a commercial, they can just look it up and buy it right then, and this is something that the artists realize,” says Peter Shane, vice president of creative services for Spirit Music Group, a music company that specializes in placing songs into all sorts of media and works with iconic catalogs by the likes of Lou Reed and T. Rex.
Here’s a choice one from the Rolling Stones and another from New Order to be getting on with.
And New Order – in it for the money!