Speaking at HackingFutbol: The Soundtrack of Copa America

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Today I spoke on a music and brands panel at the Berklee College of Music Hackathon for BeIn Sports. Panos Panay, founder of SonicBids as well as The Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship, moderated the panel, and Ned Sedlak, director of marketing at Megaforce Records as well as Ryan Fitch, VP of brand partnerships at Mac Presents were also on the panel. Our talk focused on how brand partnerships with musicians are, if done well, no longer seen as selling out. We focused on ways artists can make themselves attractive candidates to brands, and also the ways in which brands can deliver real value to both the artist and the consumer.


Here are some of the notes:

Brands + Music:

  • There have always been patrons of the arts
  • Have potential to bring value to all at the table: consumer, artist, brand
  • It’s harder for artist to make an impact on the world because there’s so much noise: this is why consumer brands play such an important role.
  • Used to be that rich was synonymous with famous, but now if you are famous, you are not necessarily rich. This is where brands can step in and fund the work of the artist who has followers, in exchange for access to their followers – some do this well and some do this badly
  • One of the largest sources of revenue for artists is remixing a Christmas favorites –> Brands could then partner with the artist and push this remix during their Q4 promotions
  • SoFar sounds : e.g. they built a following for brands to come in and want to sponsor future shows/tours/events because there is a dedicated, large, engaged network of SoFar members around the world à opportunity to do something special
  • Take advantage of native Facebook video – engaging more fans than ever, Facebook algorithm is such that the more people share, like, comment, view, the more it puts it in front of other people’s newsfeeds- so popularity accelerates – e.g. Beyonce for 50 Shades clip
  • If you have an event, for example, have a photo booth connected to Instagram with a watermark so that people share that they were at the event and your brand gets exposure as well
  • Brands + the artist should have a clear call to action for the fan/user – and a clear purpose as to why those two are working together – best case scenario is the one that doesn’t need an intro or explanation – both audiences of the brand and the artist go…”oooooh that makes sense!” e.g. a fast drummer partnering with GoPro or SoulCycle partnering with a DJ
  • Brands have resources that labels don’t have:
    • Larger pressure to ensure results
    • Brands have incentive to get it right with the band so that they can continue working with bands in the future – desire to keep reputation strong
    • Actual products that the band might want to use
    • An unusual audience that band may not have connected with otherwise
    • A large, attentive audience
    • Budget
    • More attention/enthusiasm around working with the one artist
    • Opportunity to create a very specific, special, unique experience for the consumer – consumers time and time again have demonstrated that they want to be part of a special, irreplaceable moment: e.g. holograms used at Coachella
  • For artists looking to partner with brands, usually the brands will find you, but more specifically:
    • Have a huge following, but really most importantly they need to have an engaged following if they don’t have the high numbers yet
    • Brands test music on focus groups
    • Music can make or break the look so they chose carefully
    • They’ll often keep a low budget for the song so artists need to make the case that the brand needs you!
    • Speed of content creation is crazy these days, so brands need to keep up- for this reason, there is a larger need to pull music for the larger amount of content they create
    • Brands Track acceleration of fan accumulation instead of unengaged fan base
    • Ensure that your numbers are going up for each piece of content you produce
    • Since there is a longer lifecycle of album/artist release, you cant have any periods of silence – constantly be in front of your fans: have snackable content vs. real meal content