Harnessing the Power of Artist Partnerships at Your Next Brand Event

Posted by Samantha Stallard on April 10, 2017
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Nothing is quite as personal as music. A familiar song has the power to elicit an emotional reaction and transport its listener to another place and time. Music is almost an emotion in itself - an incomprehensible force capable of defying our differences and drawing people together. For brands, music holds power. The power to unite their fans together and create a sense of community. The power to evoke a nostalgia. The power to establish trust. And the power to build consumer loyalty.

But, only when it's implemented authentically.

Authenticity lives in the collaborative partnership between a brand and an artist that helps both parties achieve mutually beneficial performance objectives. It’s not just a brand paying an artist a one-time performance fee. Sure, writing a check is an easy way to way to dip your toe into the experiential marketing pool, but it ultimately costs more money and brings less value to your brand.

Harnessing the power of artist partnerships at your next brand event provides crucial media attention, consumer attention, and, ultimately, brand sales. Successful businesses tap into consumers’ emotions by creating captivating events and experiences that transform their brand’s value proposition. Why?

  • Because Millennials and Post-Millennials aren’t responding to brands through traditional advertising like Baby Boomers and Gen X have
  • Because the music business has been rocked (pun intended) over the last decade and brand partnerships/corporate sponsorships are now embraced as vital relationships
  • Because negative connotations surrounding brand/artist partnerships are going away, now being seen as smart business moves in which both parties benefit, not “selling out”
  • Because consumers value experiences and appreciate when brands entertain them

By creating a natural music partnership, brands are able to align with a hot artist and leverage their “cool factor” to create a lasting connection with that artist’s fans. Consumers who attend events featuring their favorite artists are more open to absorbing marketing messages because of the positive association they feel between brand and artist.

These partnerships are a win-win for both parties because:

  • Brand alignments are a key contributor to an artist’s revenue stream, just like touring, merchandise purchases, downloads, fan clubs, and digital streams
  • Artist value lies beyond a one-time paycheck
  • Likewise for a brand, sometimes the value lies beyond immediate sales
  • According to IEG’s Sponsorship Report, brands will pour more than $1.4 billion into sponsoring music venues, festivals, and tours this year (+4.8%)

To ensure that the brand extracts the most value out of these experiences, it is critical that the partnership and event make sense together for the fans. Today’s consumers are hyper aware of marketing ploys and can spot inauthenticity a mile away, recognizing a promotional stunt masked as an experience. However, they do appreciate and reward brands who market themselves differently and smartly.

To approach branded music partnerships differently and smartly, brands can evolve their marketing even more with:

  • Social sweepstakes: Encourage fans to “share and post to win,” exponentially increasing the brand’s social media impressions to thousands of new consumers. Social contests can even continue through event day, with quick contests such as “tweet your way to the front row.”
  • Influencers: Brands must leverage the power of their experience for consumers and industry influencers alike. Reserve a collection of VIP performance tickets for potential partners, industry newsmakers, and thought leaders, so they will have the platform to interact with your brand firsthand. And participate in a money-can’t-experience, themselves.

When you think of concerts you’ve attended in the past, you may recall specific songs or sets by your favorite artist. When you’ve been exposed to a branded music event, however, the entire experience resonates with you.

Check out some of our favorite brand/artist partnerships:


Katy Perry headed back to her hometown of Santa Barbara, CA and hit the stage for a performance at her old high school, Dos Pueblos in partnership with Disney film, You AgainRocking out to her hits like Waking Up in Vegas and Hot N Cold, Perry performed for more than 1,000 Dos Pueblos students and the winners of the nationwide, Go Back to Highschool With ‘You Again’ and Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream radio sweepstakes. Winners received an all expenses paid trip to California, attended the premiere of You Again starring Kristen Bell, and the Dos Pueblos concert followed by a party on the beach with Perry.


Beginning with country music superstar, Jason Aldean in 2011, AMC invited contest winners across the country to intimate, live music performances in celebration of AMC’s Western drama, Hell on Wheels. The series tells the story of a Confederate soldier who sets out to avenge his wife’s murder by Union soldiers when his journey takes him to a lawless town along the Union Pacific line of the Transcontinental Railroad. Due to it’s massive success, AMC continued the experience for all six Hell on Wheels season premieres and featured artists such as Zac Brown Band, Luke Bryan, Brantley Gilbert, Dierks Bentley, and, for the series finale in 2016, Brad Paisley.

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10-time Grammy Award winner Taylor Swift performed onboard Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas in the ship’s signature AquaTheater, an amphitheater-style space with an ocean view. Big Machine Records, Clear Channel Radio, and Royal Caribbean banded together to give 100 winners (and their invited guests) access to a rare performance by Swift as well as a cruise vacation onboard Allure of the Seas

Interested in learning more about artist partnerships for your next brand event? We can help...

Let's make music together


Topics: music, experiential marketing, partners

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