Trend Alert: 10 Artist/Brand Partnerships We'd Like To See

Categories: Music Bidness

One of the most notable trends emerging from SXSW earlier this month was the increasing prevalence of financial partnerships between artists and brands. The highest-profile example of this phenomenon came courtesy of Lil Wayne, who taped a Mountain Dew spot from the stage at his Young Money/Cash Money showcase gig at the Austin Music Hall.

The commercial won't be a one-off project for Wayne or the Dew. The rapper and the soda company are teaming up for a wide campaign comprising print advertising, TV spots and digital outreach. There are also plans to drum up publicity by building skate parks around the country, starting with the rapper's hometown of New Orleans.

Brands partnering up with artists is hardly new -- who could forget Madonna's infamous "Like a Prayer" Pepsi ad? But with digital album sales failing to offset declining CD purchases over the past several years, partnerships like Wayne's with Mountain Dew could soon become standard for music-industry superstars.

Big advertising campaigns like Mountain Dew's DEWeezy promotion put artists' faces and music in front of a lot of people at no cost to the musicians or their labels, and some brands are signing deals with artists to finance concerts, tours and other musical projects, decreasing creative expenses and increasing revenues.

These partnerships offer real opportunities for the corporations, too. Renaud Skalli is head of artist and label relations for MyLoveAffair, an international matchmaking agency that's paired artists like Katy Perry, David Guetta and Coldplay with brands looking for some star power. He says artists' increasing reach has more companies than ever looking to sign deals with musicians.

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My Love Affair on Facebook
"The majority of brands in all sectors are now looking at building campaigns around music," Skalli says. "One of the main reasons for this lies in the fact that artists are now seen as media of their own thanks to their online profiles.

Artists like Rihanna (53 million fans on Facebook) or David Guetta (31 million) can use their official Web profiles to spread out messages, including branded ones, to millions of people."

The promise of making millions together is obviously a powerful motivator for brands and artists to team up. But surely these things can backfire, too--Even the biggest rock stars have their cred to consider. That's why guys like Skalli get paid to come up with matches that make sense.

"All partnerships between brands and artists have got to be thought through in an organic way," he says. "Rarely has the relationship between an artist and their fans been damaged following a genuine collaboration with a brand.

"We believe that every brand partnership needs to be a win-win situation where the brand gains exposure and engagement through the link-up and where the artist can benefit from the campaign and take this opportunity to provide his fans with even more exclusive and unexpected content."

At Rocks Off, we've got our own ideas about what could result in a profitable "genuine collaboration" for both parties. Skalli and his colleagues at MyLoveAffair didn't ask for our help, but we like to think of ourselves as generous. That's why we came up with our own list of prospective artist/brand partnerships that we believe could serve the interests of both.

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Nickelback for Baked Lays. Both are over-marketed, wrapped up in nice packaging and sold by major distributors, and when you open them up there is little to nothing there (mostly air) with no taste or flavor, and they leave a taste in your mouth like a rhesus monkey shit in your mouth stole your money and ran away!

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