Live event tickets may be selling out, but it’s no longer considered “selling out” for bands to enter into partnerships with brands, according to a range of music business veterans. They spoke at a Fast Company Innovation Festival event hosted at Spotify’s New York offices.
AEG and Momentum Worldwide presented new music research conducted among millennials, followed by a panel discussing industry prospects. In keeping with the live theme, The Wild Feathers from Nashville performed.
Live music rules at a range of venues
AEG and Momentum Worldwide conducted research among 1,048 music fans, mostly millennials. Over 80 percent plan to attend live music events within the next year, and for 70 percent, social media improves their live experience.
Another key survey finding: live music drives discovery by creating the desire for music purchases and streaming. That’s a switch from prior eras when the release of songs and albums led fans to live venues. Now concerts have become destinations, where fans share with their social networks during and after shows.
The music industry panel confirmed the live trend, as Andrew Klein, svp global partnerships at AEG, noted there’s been an uptick in live ticket sales. Glenn Minerley, vp and group director of music and entertainment at Momentum Worldwide, said since genre walls are breaking down, fans are discovering more music at live events.
Lori Feldman, evp brand partnerships at Warner Bros. Records, agreed that live music generates awareness, and she sees the proliferation of festivals across the U.S. fueling that momentum. She noted that younger bands can now start out on smaller stages at festivals and this represents a huge opportunity for them to be noticed.
Concerts and festivals aren’t the only places where music fans learn about new talent. Edwin Bragg, vp of marketing at Shake Shack, said the brand curates the playlist at their restaurants. Their objective is to foster a community environment where customers want to hang out. In their Austin, Texas, location they host a Shake Sounds series on the patio.
Rewards and risks of branding partnerships
There’s been a shift in recent years, and bands aren’t selling out anymore when they associate with brands, said Minerley. Not surprisingly, the other panelists who work on brand partnerships concurred. Feldman said the lines have blurred so much that people don’t even notice, and the support is appreciated. She added that only a minority of brands are still uncomfortable with it. Klein observed that only a few superstars don’t do brand deals.
For Shake Shack, Bragg said the arrangement is valuable for both parties: increasing exposure for bands and providing enjoyment to customers. But he added that it only works as long as it’s a good fit, and the band’s ethos should match the brand’s ethos.
Erin Clift, vp global partnership marketing at Spotify, said brands often connect with artists. In Nike’s case, they also consulted with athletes so they can enjoy their favorite music while running. Overall she thinks partnerships are mutually beneficial, though there can be a downside. One risk: brands participating with artists who may or may not break out.