Co-Branding – The Next Indie Frontier

Hey everyone, it’s Hubert Sawyers III – your trusted resource for music marketing advice. Most recently, I have had some awesome opportunities to get local music acts played in spaces where they normally would not. The most notable ones were the Detroit Music Spotlight (Not AM… Not FM… it’s DM) and coordinating the music performances of TEDxDetroit. Both of these opportunities were eye-opening in the level of untapped potential within my region for local artists to expand their fan bases.

This has me thinking about co-branding and how vital it is in the grand scheme of expanding in the way of business. I see new examples like the Hennessy Artistry tour with The Roots and Q-Tip and Mazda2 Sponsoring Mayer Hawthorne*. This gets me thinking, will we see more instances like these, especially for non-major label acts, as artists try to find new income streams? My money is on YES.

Corporations merge – like every single day – to give themselves greater opportunity to be more successful than they currently are. It only makes sense for music acts to consider merging with other businesses to try to travel farther and reach more people.

Sometimes similar companies band together and become one. The Googles and Microsofts of the world are notorious for buying tech companies that are onto something that they would like to own the innovation, whether to eliminate competition or to enhance their own business. That is not to say bands buy out other bands, but it is not new for bands to combine resources and create new material. When you think of it that way, commingling is second hat for music acts. What has been not prevalent – at least from an indie level – are overt strategic collaborations. Pop stars leverage their social capital to expand their business dealings beyond music all the time, but what about acts like Blueprint and Homeboy Sandman?

If you were looking to find a fitting business to associate your music, how do you think you would go about doing that? What band-business combos do you believe are just a blink away from happening? Let your thoughts in the comments.

* Full disclosure: I am paid to assist Mazda USA in their digital marketing efforts. This blog is not a part of my normal work. though.