Brand deals, sponsorships and collaborations have been more popular and more monetized than ever before. During these current times of social distancing, is partnering up with the heavy hitters a home run?
"A brand deal is a partnership between creators and brands and is sometimes referred to as a “brand sponsorship” too. “Brand integrations” are a type of branded content where a creator finds a way to seamlessly feature a product or service in their videos." In today's era, where we're all tuned in digitally to the world around us, a brand deal may look a bit different.
Previously, one would find a Coca Cola bottle in the hand of a major artist, displaying how it quenches their thirst when they're busy running around all day from interview to shoot. On the inside, that brand may have funded the artist's entire worldwide summer tour for the year. There are varying contracts, from tiny to massive. Currently, it's certainly the time to get inventive. We've all witnessed for years now when many influences have taken up their tea of choice and plastered it all over their feeds. In turn, they would often receive discounts of the products of that brand, or provide their followers with a discount code and receive a portion of the sales when that particular code was used.
It is now time to meet somewhere in the middle. The Los Angeles Times recently ran a story on just this very subject, stating "“If touring doesn’t exist for another year, what replaces that income?” asked Elena Awbrey, a partner at the firm Tiger’s Eye, which manages former Fifth Harmony singer Lauren Jauregui and rising rapper/singer Chika, who have or will later perform livestream sets for 1800 Tequila. “It’s definitely a new frontier, but it gives us permission to go to places we hadn’t gone before. As we see traditional revenue streams dry up, it takes a leap to get to where new ones are.”
Major DJS are following suit, as Diplo and Dillon Francis hosted their very own Instagram Live where the entire set was sponsored by Jack in the Box. With millions of followers, this is quite a savvy way for both partners to gain some traction, be it financial or promotional. For others, like Club House and A-Trak, "The shows average around 5,000 viewers and 75,000 minutes watched per show, Club House says. That landed sponsorships from millennial-friendly brands like Beats By Dre and Bumble, and Club House pools those resources to give every DJ at least $200 for a one-hour set. That can make a big difference."
A crucial element that must be first discussed is your comfort level when starting to mix business and creativity. Depending on your perspective and environment, some may believe that doing deals with major brands is a version of "selling out". How does one really define that anyway? ""Selling out" is a common expression for the compromising of a person's integrity, morality, authenticity, or principles in exchange for personal gain, such as money. In terms of music or art, selling out is associated with attempts to tailor material to a mainstream or commercial audience."
We believe that the way to incorporate both minor and major brands into your art is to do so in a way that will be mutually beneficial for both of you. We suggest that you look around your lifestyle and consider what really means something to you. Do you love that vegan cheese that you've been munching on? Perhaps you're a major fan of a certain version of strings and you're always telling all your fellow players that they've got to have them. There are things that you already love and promote on a daily basis, without recognizing that you do so. Start there. You can be ethical, natural and still partner up with the best of them.