The power of brand partnerships took centre stage in MUSEXPO Europe’s Marketing & Monetisation session.
Moderated by Music Week news editor Dan Gumble, the panel featured ThinkSynch Music’s music supervisor and creative director Connie Farr, Disturbing London general manager Damaris Rex-Taylor, Oum Pradutt, founder of Phase 1 events and Zoe Stainsby of Entertainment Marketing Consulting.
Rex-Taylor said partnerships are now integral to the music business. "You can't work solo anymore,” she said. “The music industry's isolated itself in a really traditional format for a long time and this new generation's consuming music in a completely different way. To not partner with relevant brands, as long as they're organic and authentic, and true to the artist's brand, wouldn't make sense. Managers and record labels are a lot more savvy to that, they have to be.”
Highlighting the case of grime artist Stormzy, who landed a deal with Adidas despite being unsigned, she added: "There are loads of unsigned artists that are doing really well with brand partnerships. And it's not just on brand partnerships; we all know the whole model is changing. The business of selling records is just...it sounds silly. A record label doesn't really make that much sense in this day and age - purely because of the way people consume music.
“You've got to be multi-faceted so loads of artists can do very well without having the traditional model to begin with."
Stainsby pointed out that a key factor to consider before agreeing a brand partnership was to understand why the brand would want to work with the artist in the first place. “I use the analogy of the fact it's like a marriage. Often it's going to go really wrong but if you can get it right it ends up in a really beautiful relationship that you couldn't do independently,” she said.
"One of the first things you need to do is get to know the person that you're trying to get into bed with. If you don't understand your brand, and you don't know what the brand's about and what the brand stands for, then how can you approach them and start having that conversation and say, Hey, we should work together?"
Stainsby said that maintaining credibility when choosing a partner should not necessarily be a priority. "It's about having the right brand match,” she said. “Some artists might not want to be credible. Credibility might not be what their overall objective is. It might be huge global reach and fame, stardom, success, money, whatever the motivation is."