Looking to a Sneaker for a Band’s Big Break http://tinyurl.com/25q3dvy
A shoe company giving away studio time might seem peculiar. But with its new project, Converse — whose sneakers have been worn by generations of bands, from the Ramones to the Strokes — wants to become a patron of the rock arts. The company is not alone: lifestyle brands are becoming the new record labels.
This is remarkably like the sort of patronage a King, Lord or Knight would make of an artist in return for the artist creating the art for the patron’s benefit.
Not long ago most youth-minded brands’ pop strategies were limited to tour sponsorships and licensing songs for TV commercials. Now they compete to offer bands the kind of services once strictly the province of record companies: money for video shoots, marketing, even distribution. Red Bull and Mountain Dew have record labels with credible rosters. Levi’s, Converse, Dr. Martens,Scion, Nike and Bacardi have all sponsored music by the kind of under-the-radar artists covered in Pitchfork and The Village Voice, and they blitz the blogosphere with promotional budgets fatter than most labels could muster.
Overall, I see this as another positive step in the direction of financing independent production. One sponsor is less intrusive than many advertisers and it’s a better deal for both audience and advertiser.
These deals certainly seem to be better for artists than traditional record labels who now want “360 degree” deals where they get a cut on every dollar earned by an artist:
Major labels’ 360 deals, he said, are “way more of a sell-out than doing a collaboration with a brand where you have full creative control and you give free content to your fans.” (Many artists on Atlantic have extended-rights contracts, but a spokeswoman said Chromeo does not.)”