Looking to a Sneaker for a Bandâ€™s Big Break http://tinyurl.com/25q3dvy
A shoe company giving away studio time might seem peculiar. But with its new project, Converse â€” whose sneakers have been worn by generations of bands, fromÂ the Ramones toÂ the Strokes â€” 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 brandsâ€™ 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.Â Leviâ€™s,Â Converse,Â Dr. Martens,Scion,Â Nike andÂ 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 labelsâ€™ 360 deals, he said, are â€œway 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.â€ (Many artists on Atlantic have extended-rights contracts, but a spokeswoman said Chromeo does not.)”