The first notable brand partnership in music was forged in 1964 between the Rolling Stones and Rice Krispies following the meteoric rise of television. The 1980’s brought the first mega-deals, with Pepsi’s endorsement of Michael Jackson leading the way. But until recently, brand partnerships were considered taboo in music. Now, instead of being seen as “selling out,” artists have brands “buying in” to their vision.
Brand partnerships exploded in 2020 and this year we will see even more of that growth trajectory. We’ve been in the trenches of many massive music partnerships over the past decade-plus at Nue, so when our friends at Talent Resources connected about a panel series on The Future Of Brand Partnerships, I knew we’d have a lot to contribute.
The question of brand partnerships is open-ended. Music is the pillar of culture, so the possibilities are limitless. But for the sake of conversation, I’ll try to answer. The way I see it, the future of music+brand partnerships breaks down into several verticals:
1. Artists launching brands on their own, building them and then partnering with bigger, more established corporations that need the fresh energy and technology. We saw that this week with Jay-Z taking his Armand De Brignac to Moet.
2. Musicians leveraging new technology to get their art out, similar to what Snoop Dogg did this week with Facebook’s Oculus and Tidal.
3. A.I. simulations like Post Malone’s show this week with Pokemon.
4. Artists partnering with platforms to release their music & additional products on the blockchain.
5. Nostalgia plays that take undervalued assets like The Beach Boys’ catalog and revitalize them for the world to enjoy live, one last time.
6. SPACs that are going to create efficiencies, scale, and new conglomerates.
7. Brand marketers and artists building brands from inception, with the creative and execution at the table together from the jump.
I believe technology will help create a marketplace for more and more brands to connect with artists. I can see artists licensing on scale as everyone gets more comfortable with this space, similar to what Star Trek and Star Wars might do, but more nuanced. It’s a big sandbox in which anyone can play: new or old, big or small, established or emerging.
Beginning this week, we’re going to dive into a different “future of brand partnerships” topic on Clubhouse. We’ll do this the last Friday of each month. We’re kicking things off at 2PM EST this week. Hope you can join and bring your perspective on the deal-making process. Add it to your calendar here.
What is the future of in brand partnerships in your mind?
Also published on Medium.