Have you ever noticed how some bands seem to have literally dozens of endorsements while others can barely get any? Oftentimes it’s not even a question of how big the band is. You can find bands on a similar level where some get everything they could ever want for free and the other is crying all the way to the bank. It makes you wonder – doesn’t it? How do make sure that your band is one of those that gets everything? The secret is surprisingly simple, and as is with anything in the music industry it just comes from being a good person who is more community oriented than they are selfishly motivated. It’s all a part of building up something greater, and realizing that by tapping into the community of endorsers then you are going to be able to take your career to a whole new, financially viable and very exciting level.
The thing is, all of these endorsement people know each other – if for no other reason than that they all go to NAMM and hang out and get drunk together. The beauty of it then is that if you can get in bed with one of these people then the odds are that they are ALL going to be willing to help you out in the long run. Obviously you need to be careful and you can’t just take advantage of them – you have an obligation to give back to the community, either by bringing them new artist or making sure that your artists do a shit ton of work to make it work well for them. That’s why you should be willing to sign contracts guaranteeing you will be using peoples stuff and you will be putting their logos everywhere you can. After all – it’s free stuff that makes you look good. You need to take advantage of all the free stuff that you can get, especially when you are on a musicians salary.
You need to be willing to be flexible to endorsers. Remember that they have a lot of people coming at them every day asking for free stuff – you need to make sure that not only is your presentation the best (And obviously there is a ton of material out there on that) but also that you make them want to work with you more. This is where personal connections come in key. This is where taking full advantage of your internal charisma and the lessons of Dale Carnegie comes into play. Artist reps are by nature very nice people but they also need to know when to put up limitations and stop artists from taking too much advantage of what they have to offer. (And artists – don’t get greedy!) Finding this balance can be hard for a lot of them since they genuinely love the music. I’m not saying to take advantage of this, but rather give them a reason to keep wanting to give you stuff – and if it’s a matter of bringing in top notch artists on your own – well then you had better go out and do it.
Part of the beauty of endorsement deals is that it’s not hard to get your friends in on them. So if an artist rep needs to have you bring on three artists at a discount for you to get their product for free, well if you’re established in your scene and play your cards right then that is going to lead to you getting free shit and seeming like a good dude – a win for everyone. Everyone wants an endorsement deal, they want to pay less and get the fancy professional image that comes from that sort of thing. You need to take advantage of that as you guide your band and bands you work with through the process. The whole thing can be surprisingly easy – but you need to stay smart and vigilant in order to find all the best ways to keep feeding the monkey and have the endorsers remain excited to work with you and continue to burn their budgets on what you are doing. It’s a balancing act to be sure – but one that I know you will be able to pull off.
Ultimately what you need to be asking your artist rep is ‘What can I do for you?’ Sometimes you get roped into weird or hokey shit, but it’s pretty much always worth it. Anytime a favor you are doing for an artist rep seems extreme (Getting them on the list for a show, bringing them new clients, doing their shopping) consider how much you would have to pay to get their product without them. Artist reps are all ridiculously nice people – they don’t have to continue giving you free things, but if you treat the right then oftentimes they do. Why? Because their job is to give stuff away and make people happy, but when people take advantage of them they get jaded. So realize that you are the one who should be doing them favors, with your social media, with your website, all that good shit in order to maximize their reasons for working with you and make them regret turning you down if they ever have to.
So dive into the world of artist endorsements with a smile on your face. Remember that at the end of the day you are probably going to end up with free stuff – so you might as well take advantage of that while you can. Just be grateful and use that attitude of gratitude to give back to your community. Artist reps don’t want to work with people who just service themselves and create bring circle jerks for each other. They want to work with people who are motivated in expanding brands and giving people the most possible access to their products. Respect your artist rep and realize their power, treat them well and realize that any favor that you do for them will come back tenfold upon your head with connections, gifts and more.