For decades, brands have associated with music and vice versa. As record and merchandise sales struggle, artists cling to the opportunity of collaborating with brands. We look at how the modern music and fashion industries are combining for profit.
Guest Post by Bryn Roberts of Superdry
Big bands leaning on big brands
The symbiotic relationship between band and brand is mutually beneficial. Firstly, artists gain extra exposure and income, without the music label dabbling into their profits.
In 2013, Lady Gaga performed at the South by Southwest festival which was presented by Doritos. Toward the end of the event, Lady Gaga thanked the tortilla chip brand and said: “without sponsorships, without all these people supporting us, we won’t have any more festivals because record labels don’t have any money.”
The appeal of music
In a survey by Music Works For You, 67% of the respondents believed a brand’s store appeared trendier when music was playing. Over half said they would be more inclined to try on items in the store as a result.
Promoting a brand in relation to a genre of music can be invaluable in building a brand identity and thus brand affinity. In addition to this, music can help a brand connect emotionally with their consumer, create a sense of loyalty and anticipation with new releases.
Emergence of independent artists
The Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) reported that in 2013, 46% of the music firms worked independently and employed more than 13,400 Canadians; 67% of which were solely artists. The emergence of indie artists is a change brands are welcoming with open arms, by adding to the creative pool of talent to pick from.
Fashion retailer, Superdry, is one brand that has taken advantage of the rise in talent. Its Soundcloud playlist features a range of independent and upcoming artists – oozing originality and flair.
In Supedry’s March blog post, the brand discussed its emerging talent playlist featuring the track, ‘Motherless Child’ from Romare, who is signed to independent record label, Ninja Tune.
“Taking African-American musical elements and fusing them with modern beats, it’s a sound we’re not all familiar with but can’t help but find it somewhat infectious. An artist doing his own thing, in his own way – we highly respect that.”
Adding a novel element to the ‘Superdry Sounds’, these playlists are played across Superdry’s international stores too, which makes the in-store experience unique.
By brands collating such playlists, the scope for exposure and endorsement for upcoming artists is huge, with an added opportunity for indie tracks and original remixes to be reposted by some of the top artists of today.
For example in 2012, Snoop Dogg (who has 692,433 followers) came across the Polish singer and song writer Iza Lach featured on Soundcloud. Snoop Dogg flew out to Poland to record songs with Iza and then signed her to his label.
Spotify offers fashion brands a unique opportunity for specific targeting through its selection of advert formats. Through creating playlists on Spotify, brands are maintaining a diverse online presence and engaging with target consumers.
Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is one of the most notorious fashion shows around, radiating style and sex appeal. The brand uploaded a playlist on Spotify called “Rock The Runway” featuring all of the tracks that were played in its shows from 2001 through to 2014. With over 30,000 followers, the playlist’s popularity can be attributed to the current artists featured that encapsulate a feel-good atmosphere and party mood.
For musicians, brand playlists are a natural promotion. As a brand will select a musician that matches their style, the brand’s fan base will have music set before them that is of their taste.
Another way artists can find coverage is via playlists that seek interviews with musicians and DJs. Fashion-forward brand, Nasty Gal, does exactly this in its series on Spotify, with selected artists that suit the brand’s style. Each featured interview is then accompanied by a Spotify playlist curated by the celebrity, each of which attracts thousands followers.
Fashion and music have and always will be influential aspects in our culture, and through combining the two together, both band and brand can extend their opportunities and the experience of those that matter the most, the audience.