Sponsorship deals for an unsigned singer-songwriter are considered a financial risk. Why? Because they are not a guaranteed return on investment, like a superstars are. What does a superstar have? Sell-out shows worldwide with hit songs in the top-40 Billboard and or UK charts and companies fighting over them to represent their brand. For massive organisations that invest millions into marketing, the superstars that best represent their brand are the people they focus on building financial business relationships with.
However, there are the rare cases of new and sought-after bands and singer-songwriters securing sponsorship deals in the earlier parts of their careers. However, it must be said that these artists will still have to have a guaranteed fanbase at their gigs (100+) and incredible songs (with a big number of records already selling). The companies that support the newly signed or source new talent are: Yamaha, Diesel clothing, Redbull, Vodaphone, Savanna Dry, Bose, General Motors UK (Saab, Vauxhall, Chevrolet, Hummer and Cadillac), Vivienne Westwood, Roland, Pacific Sunwear of California, O’Neill Sportswear, Levi Strauss & Co, Jim Beam Brands Co, Range Rover, Apple, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Carphone Warehouse, Miller Brewing Co, and Vans to name a few.
To incorporate you into their plan will require budgetary sign off (check which months financial investment is signed off and approach them well before this time) and planning of their marketing strategy. It is better to have somebody represent you, like your manager, if you are clueless about the demographics of your fanbase and handling business matters. The company involved will be certain you are a hit-seller, which will warranty successful brand representation. The band winning the sponsorship will be obligated to play or use their instruments and music equipment, wear their clothing or drink their beverages accordingly, to further promote and endorse their products. These artists will need to fit in with their own brand image, songs, and band’s image.
As the music industry undergoes some immense changes, investment is no longer offered as freely to new songwriters and bands as before, plus the advance sums of money offered to secure deals are based on minimum upfront spend. Too many newly signed artists wasted their record advance money on partying and living the high life – instead of on their recording costs and music making, songwriting time. Adding to that there are of course the stocks crashing and various recessions causing financial flow to be at an all time low. Therefore, less and less gambles on one-hit wonders are found, more focus is on finding female singers or male singers that write a series of number hit songs – and on one album. Fewer bands are signed too, because that only means more people are needed to invest in and as well as that there is a risk of the band breaking up due to petty disputes (as they are historically known to do). There is just no financial tolerance for this kind of behaviour anymore.
So whilst the record labels clamp down, the live venues, investment banks and big brand companies have seized the moment to capitalize on successful money-making-music acts. Venues have created 360 deals for artists to tour; promoting and selling their tickets, music and merchandise. Large brand companies, use faces of famous artists to endorse their products and in turn artists write songs which are licensed to the brand for use in advertising on TV, radio, film commercials, online and in magazines and newspapers. Investment banks have bought out record labels, seeing the benefit and growth of the music industry through the digital era.
In every age, there is a time for growth whilst an older concept is dying. Nothing on earth stops moving and possibilities are always there for you to take hold of. The most important thing for a new songwriter is to keep focusing on growth and move away from the decaying. There are avenues to tap into, if you keep you own momentum growing. If you stop, any investor will look elsewhere. Just keep writing your songs, playing live and building your fanbase with a vengeance like you have a need to conquer the world, and you will be noticed and sponsored accordingly. Nothing is impossible, just reach for the possible.