Rock Brand 2.0: What Advertisers Really Want

If music is the soundtrack to our lives, then advertisers want a piece of the experience. But how can artists forge powerful and profitable relationships with brands? At South by Southwest on Thursday, entrepreneurs started sharing notes on the elusive branding partnership.

The major label recording contract was once the ultimate prize for many artists, simply because of the financial, distribution, and promotional muscle involved. But artists now have alternative paths towards broader-scale success, including direct relationships with brands.

Superstar artists certainly have their place in the advertising world, and multi-million dollar sponsorships prove it. But brands are usually interested in connecting with targeted demographics, and that opens the door for smaller labels, bands, and scenes. "I would actually rather work with a medium-to-small sized artist," commented Trey Shelton, chief executive of Music Interactive. "With an up-and-coming act, you are getting a little bit more of a tastemaker crowd."
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