Music Industry Endorsements

Artists have many options to finance their music through sponsorships, endorsements, and synchs. However, bands and their teams must be careful how they approach corporate brand alliances. There are many bumps and challenges along the way. So that you can navigate into the world of endorsements, we have tried to identify the most important hotspots.

En endorsements are generally done with people, i.e. A drummer endorsement and one for a manufacturer of cymbals. A clothing brand might be interested in an endorsement deal with the whole band.

What does this all mean?


A company’s logo is used on posters and digital content at concerts. It can also be distributed online. Optus Presents Pink’ The Truth About Love concert tours, and the brand simply aligns itself with the tour in a broader and passive sense. Individual artists cannot vouch for their use, reputation, or perceived quality.

Endorsements Cause Greater Legal & Ethical Responsibilities

Endorsements entail greater responsibility than sponsorships.

If a product defect causes harm, the testimonials and endorsements of artists are available to the public. Artists should be careful to protect their brand, and only work with companies and products whose values, ideals, and perceptions aren’t detrimental.

Approaching Sponsorship and Endorsements

Sponsorships and endorsements can be difficult to obtain. Soliciting corporations shouldn’t be viewed as an easy way to raise funds for albums, new gear, or keep tours afloat.

Sponsorship or endorsement deals are business arrangements that yield a return on investment for the sponsor/endorsee in exchange for cash or ‘in kind’ benefit to the artist. A prospective sponsor/endorsee will require an artist to show that they are a worthy partner who will deliver real benefits and real results.

What’s in it? The benefits of developing

A sponsor/endorsee generally wants three things from an artist:

  • Image Association: To be associated with the core values and attributes of the artist with the intent to introduce or strengthen those attributes in its company or product.
  • Target Audience: To reach one or more artists target markets and communicate with these music lovers the sponsor’s/endorsees marketing message in an engaging (and sometimes interactive) manner.
  • Tangible Benefits: To gain a variety of benefits from an artist, ensuring that the impact of these points is maximized and providing mechanisms and tools for specific marketing outcomes.

Artists can maximize their chances of building a strong brand alliance and generating a response from sponsors if they fully understand what they can offer in each area. These benefits will be more easily defined if they are clear.

Artists need to take out the butchers’ paper and create a benefits inventory to determine what benefits they offer. With artists often being cash poor, resource low and high perception benefits are essential glue for corporate deals.

How much is sponsorship worth?

The most difficult step on the ‘package stage’ usually confirms the artist’s sponsorship benefits. These are the ways you can assess this:

  • What is the true cost of an artist? (Benefits, administration, actual cost). The sponsor should be charged for any direct costs that arise from the sponsorship arrangement. Example: A sponsor may be offered signage rights’ by an artist in the form of a banner at their album release. These rights are not what the sponsor pays for but the banner. They supply the banner or have the banner made by the artists (with their signature, of course). The sponsor then pays the banner cost to them and their sponsorship fee.
  • What is the market value? You must ensure that sponsorships are correctly valued in the market. What is the average price for similar artists/event properties? What are the benefits, audience reach, profile and marketing support of artists’ sponsorship opportunities?
  • What are the marketing benefits of artist marketing compared to costs in mainstream media? What would it cost for a sponsor to reach an artist’s audience through digital advertising, street press, radio, etc.?

Tip: Don’t tell sponsors how sponsorship money will be spent. This will diminish your value and indicate your need rather than your worth. Sponsors may request breakdowns of promotional and marketing expenditures.

Contra: The Dilemma of

Contra sponsorship, or “in kind” sponsorship (where products or services are offered in place of cash), is just as effective as cash. It is important to consider whether contra sponsorship will help the artist’s financial bottom line. Contra freight will be used to transport the artist on their upcoming Australian tour instead of Levi’s, worth $2,500. Levis are an essential band item, but they don’t reduce or eliminate expenditures from the tour budget.

Finally, the artist and sponsor will need to decide what they value the contra support. It can be priced at the company’s retail price, wholesale price, or cost.

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