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    Music Equipment Sponsorship and Endorsements

    by Simon James.

    An essential element often overlooked by bands when they begin performing is the lack of professional equipment. This article examines a solution to a costly problem

    The Right Tools for the Job

    The acquisition of high quality, professional gear is a problem that will hamper all instrumentalists, but most notably it is the guitarist in a band that is effected most of all as there is such a wide range of genre defining sounds available to this instrument.

    The wrong sound could destroy the vibe and therefore do complete injustice to the music. If a musician is to compete with acts at the highest level, then an investment in the right equipment must be made. This can prove to be costly, but without it great talent and potential can easily be overlooked.

    Sponsorship and Endorsements

    One way around the problem of cost is to look into sponsorship and endorsements. If a musician is touring regularly they can expect sponsorship deals to come their way. Established companies, such as Fender and Ernie Ball, are always looking to cement their reputations further by having their products in the hands of top artists. The exposure it gives them is invaluable. In that way acts become synonymous with the equipment that they use as, for example Big Jim Sullivan has with the Peerless guitar brand.

    Which Company?

    Clearly a new and unknown artist will find it difficult to cut a deal with the larger companies, such as Fender or Gibson. However, with brands a little more out of the spotlight an artist may have more success. For a tour an artist can expect to be offered instruments, effects pedals and amps at cost price (usually 40% of the retail value). Performers come to rely on the help of equipment as the cost of touring can eat heavily into the wages received.

    Even an act that is performing regularly can expect something by virtue of the fact that the weight of their exposure is giving a fledgling company much needed advertising. Take Marshall amplifiers, for instance, who were championed by The Who as they were rising through the ranks in the sixties. They were reliant on their equipment and in turn contributed to help make the then fledgling Marshall brand a household name.

    What is Required of the Artist?

    In return for an endorsement an artist will have a number of obligations to the company sponsoring the equipment. They may be required to review the equipment, to attend photo shoots or interviews or even press conferences. These should not infringe on any important commitments; a company, for example would not expect an act to miss out on performing at Glastonbury Festival to attend a photo shoot because of the exposure that such an event would entail.

    When approaching companies make sure that you already endorse the products fully, through blogs or youtube, etc. Also, make sure that you are playing in places where the equipment that you are hoping to endorse is going to be exposed to potential customers. It must be noted, in conclusion, that all approaches to suppliers must be made by artist management and that contracts have to be signed to ensure that both parties will receive the full benefit of such an endorsement.

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