n today’s music business, branding has proven to be a vital part of the game. Not only have artists gravitated more towards being brands themselves and the awareness thereof but they have partnered, or some merged with aligning brands for mutual benefit!
With the above said: Are artists and brand collaborations the future of the industry?
An artist’s brand is their face, their image defines them and states what they stand for. From being branded externally to attract target audiences to having brand statements. Essentially, without this ‘self-awareness’ it would be difficult for potential business (fans, corporate, etc) to identify with these artists. Branding, therefore, helps artists to be identifiable and reliable, especially at this age. Because of how saturated the music business has become over the years, your brand is your uniqueness and what sets you apart from other artists.
Artists have collaborated not only in the studio recording songs with other artists but also in other avenues with industries such as clothing, cosmetics, beverage, etc. The list is endless and continues to grow as more brands find alignment and partner together.
Big companies and corporates, being brands themselves, have in many instances identified with the artist’s brand and found common ground to work together to reach their audiences effectively. Brand alignment is important in this case, when working together the one brand should be aligned in order to make the partnership fluid and organic. This has changed the game, especially in South Africa as we continue to see a major boom in this industry.
Artists have become influencers using their brands, attracting other companies to partner up. This is a blueprint that dates back centuries. Companies such as Reebok have reached new heights in the country by pairing up with a couple of well-known artists in the music industry such as AKA and Nadia Nakia. As much as most of these deals have been in the form of endorsements, not only has the company benefited in terms of marketing but the artists as well have benefited as per contract or agreement.
Collaborating with brands has its pros and cons, and these are should be considered before signing any deals or contracts. We recently saw AKA talk about #TheSneAKA and stating that because of the partnership that was already in progress, there was no additional contract on the sales of #TheSneAKA which meant he didn’t receive any additional payment for the distribution of this product.
Having voiced this out on Twitter, #ReebokMustFall trended as fans were split between blaming AKA for not having a contract in place, and also accusing Reebok of using AKA’s brand for their own benefit without compensating him. In a statement on the matter, Reebok commented “Upon entering into the relationship, both parties were happy with the agreement, and the terms of the launch were not disputed. Reebok met all of our contractual obligations related to the launch.”
Contracts have always been a big part of the music industry and are often the main problem when it comes to artist satisfaction.
We saw on Boity’s show how even with a contract in place, she still needed to go and contest its terms and conditions in order to get paid for her music as she should. It seems even when it comes to brands and the corporate side of things, artists are always having to contest contracts.
When they do find middle ground eventually, the results are usually amazing. The impact that brands coming together have on their respective careers is massive. If handled well and professionally, artists’ brands and other industries can come together and break barriers, reaching heights and taking up spaces that we never knew existed. As the demand for new music grows increasingly, so does the demand for brand collaborations. This is the future of the music industry, where artists venture into more than just music.
Artists are encouraged to self-introspect, do research and study the game to fill gaps that haven’t been filled yet, or better yet trailblaze. The nature of this business demands that artists be educated with regards to the corporate side of things in order to not be disappointed by not reading between the lines.
MGOSI.co.za | you can contact the writer Psueper Woke using email firstname.lastname@example.org.