Upon moving to Nashville some 27 years ago, I had little understanding of the music industry. I was in the alternative/subprime mortgage lending industry at the time. Once I began networking in Nashville, it didn’t take long to gather numerous music industry referrals. It wasn’t a credit issue with these artists and producers; it was a revenue recognition issue. What the IRS allows one to do with respect to write offs and reporting income didn’t always yield a tax return that allowed for a prime loan.
It quickly became clear to me that musicians and writers are some of the most hard working individuals on the planet. Devotion to their craft and love of the business often had NOTHING to do with money. When most made it big, at least in my experience, they remained humble and quite grounded.
Fast forward several years and the industry has certainly changed: not only in the advent of digital streaming, downloads and the resurgence of vinyl, but also in that the record label of old is not the powerhouse it once was. The “packaging” of an artist and ability to monetize that brand is critical. Therefore, artists today must not only possess undeniable talent, but also have a very business savvy team around them. Artists are no longer at risk of “selling out”. On the contrary, missed marketing opportunities can kill a career.
Alcohol advertising and sponsorship plays a huge role the music industry – and it’s not a new concept. Billboard Magazine articles dating back to 2006 (Article) and 2003 (Article) delve into the lucrative business of pairing alcohol brands with artists’ tours.
“Launching proprietary alcohol lines or partnering with alcohol brands—in a way that innovates around both technology and taste, gives the artist more cultural power and delivers genuine value to under-served consumers—can help the music industry fill this much-needed gap.”
Cherie Hu, Forbes contributor
In his college thesis , current William Morris agent, Jordan Meisles, highlights the struggles of touring artists – at every level of success – relative to their declining revenue streams around the very music that put them on the map. As a result, seeking out creative and lucrative partnerships have been essential in monetizing talent.
Meisles points out an obvious correlation between the sales of alcohol in a profitable music venue and the popularity of the bands and artists being booked in those venues. Artists that attract a drinking crowd (link this article: 15 Celebrity Musicians with Alcohol Deals or Ownership) will ultimately book more venues. Hence, all-age venues and artists (that don’t attract the same level of drinkers to a show) continue to struggle.
“$1.4 billion was spent this past year alone on sponsorships with artists, venues, and festivals which has been a steadily rising annually. 2011 had $1.17 billion in sponsorships while 2012 increased to $1.22 billion, 2013 rose again to $1.28 billion, and 2014 saw $1.4 billion (IEGSR). To no surprise, the company that is most active in sponsoring music affiliated parties is Anheuser-Busch (replacing Coca-Cola, the previous most active sponsoring company).”
Jordan Meisles, William Morris agent and University of Indiana alumnus
From a 2013 post where some of the artists may or may not still be in the game:
Need more evidence of the powerful connection between alcohol and artists?
Justin Timberlake and Adam Levine have both appeared on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon – not to perform, but instead to promote the alcohol brands that they own.
The data is compelling. Spirits, wine and beer-oriented tech firms like Shared Spirits have a prime opportunity to increase the value proposition that an artist brings to a sponsoring brand. We can also vastly increase the value of an artist-owned brand.
Simply put, Shared Spirits has developed a compliant way to convert marketing dollars into drink credits. We assist artists in the assessment of their audience by delving into their fanbase and determining its potential value. Our team analyzes all aspects of an artist’s presence: social, fan club, radio and touring, as it pertains to the potential sponsor or the brand the artist may wish to develop. We then arrange strategic meetings with either their current sponsors or sponsors they may wish to approach.
The Shared Spirits app technology allows for the deployment of drink credits redeemable at venues across the country – all appearing to come directly from the artist – making a social gesture quite personal.
Shared Spirits enables the touring artist, as well as the artist with dormant music on streaming, to approach spirits partnerships in far more authoritative ways. Artists with any degree of success, those that own their own brand and those with national or global ambitions of doing so should explore Shared Spirits technology.
Shared Spirits is currently taking meetings for implementation on 2018 tours. Reach out to CEO Sherman Mohr.
Check out a mock up of our proposal for a national touring act and alcohol brand.