The power of sync deals and brand partnerships were put under the spotlight during BIME 2016’s ‘Is it possible for an artist to sell out when working with brands’ panel session.
Featuring Tara Austin, senior brand manager at ad firm Ogilvy & Mather, Alex Hoffman, head of music at Vice Media, and Ekatarina Bazhanova, founder of Music Development Russia, the session saw the panel discuss the benefits and dangers of brand alignment, while also presenting some good and not quite so good examples of brand partnerships from across the years.
Discussing the potentially damaging effects of such deals, particularly for new artists, Bazhanova warned: “A bad collaboration can totally ruin your career.”
Austin added: “You can break as a new artist if you have a great partnership, but it is very dangerous territory.”
When discussing the more positive aspects of brand alignment and its benefits for artists, Hoffman highlighted the success that many UK grime artists have found by teaming up with the right partners, most notably Stormzy and his work with adidas. However, he also noted the damaging effect that these deals are having upon traditional record labels.
“Grime is almost a mini crisis for record labels, because artists are making things happen independently. Once your music is out there, it’s out there. I don’t think artists will suffer that much of a backlash these days for working with brands, unless it’s really terrible.”
“Fans are quite open to bands partnering with brands these days,” Austin added. “It’s just another way to make money and for the industry to keep moving. Michaelangleo was paid to paint the Sistine Chapel when he’d much rather have been sculpting something. Everybody needs to pay the bills.”
Earlier in the day, Music Week spoke to Spotify's head of Latin content about the playlists, curators and the threat of Amazon Music Unlimited.