Saturday, July 01, 2006

Strategic Audio Partnerships

I'd like to use this entry to revisit several ideas I’ve mentioned in the past, in separate posts, and perhaps demonstrate their interconnectedness. For although each concept was considered exclusive of the other, they can certainly work in concert. Such a strategy assumed by a wide enough base would have the result of forming a different kind of music industry than the one we see today. Or it might simply form a parallel but different branch of the entertainment industry. I've been calling this new paradigm 'Strategic Audio Partnerships'. These are three components that form the conceptual basis of the business plan:

1. Rock Brands: Rock Brands are artists who forgo traditional celebrity endorsement deals in lieu of strategic partnerships between their own brand/marketing company and a corporate account. They don't just show up for a film shoot, a party or publicity photos. They are active participants in the 'concepting', creation and execution of a marketing strategy that leverages their brand value to yield a return on investment for their clients –at an appropriate price.

Rock Brands will otherwise function as entertainers and audio/music providers, so never confuse their contributions to popular culture and commerce with traditional work-for-hire oriented music and sound production companies.

2. Medici Model Sponsorships: Such sponsorships are akin to those given to Public Television, whereby corporate patrons underwrite artists, with no endorsement expected, except to provide an appropriate and public acknowledgment for the source of the funds (unless otherwise negotiated). One might also consider that in lieu of direct grants made to artists, advertisers who wish to underwrite arts programs might allocate funds to a new kind of (possibly non-profit) record label. In this scenario, the artist is protected from accusations of 'selling out', because they will be producing art funded by an arts organization, not at the bequest of the foundation's contributors.

3. Camelback Collateral & Distribution: Camelback Distribution is a Non-Traditional Digital Audio Distribution method of delivery. It's referred to as Camelback, because something else carries the load. In this case Music is delivered as collateral or added value enhancements for other non-entertainment commodities –meaning the delivery of a music experience or product with every type of goods and services you can think of; whether packaged as a gift or promoted as a combo purchase.

So, for instance, one doesn't give away a free CD with a car purchase. Rather the music is liquid and the car –in this instance– is literally the vehicle for the distribution of music. The car -or any other primary product– replaces the CD case, if you want to think of it like that. One might reasonably expect that in the future the exchange of capital for a car, or any other product, will include a coupon, code or some yet-to-be-implemented technology for redeeming the artist's music at the artist's website, or an online music store; or Branded Mixes at the online space belonging to the product manufacturers.

Independent artists distributing their own works without a formal sponsor's product to package their music in/with, can simply package their music in or with their own branded merchandise, such as T-shirts, for instance. The purchase of a physical product –in this case, a T-shirt– eliminates the need for CD packaging (as the music itself is accessed via the web/ phone/ air –what I call in its 'liquid' form). The result is consumers pay for music but feel as though they are getting it for free.

This says nothing towards the idea of 'renting' music, which is a topic that merits an analysis beyond the scope of this entry.

For other articles in this series:
ROCK BRANDS: Tomorrow's Rock Star Marketing Partners
Branded Mixes
Medici Model Revisited
Artist X Brand X Not Available @ iTunes
Strategic Audio Partnerships
Diplomatic Corps Rock Fest