We’re about half way through 2015 and already the numbers are looking good for touring artists. Last year we saw sponsorship figures come in at $1.34 billion for tours and this year it’s trending to break that number.
Artists like Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum are getting deals worth $1m-$10m per tour from sponsors such as Xfinity, Quicken and Citi. This is smart business from both parties- artists make a huge amount of money on top of their regular touring income and the sponsors can expose their brands to thousands, or in some cases millions, of people.
Goes to show there is still money in music, you just have to know where to find it. As an artist you have to set yourself up to be attractive to sponsors. If you’re out there talking reckless and acting a fool no one is going to throw money your way. Of course the more popular your music is the bigger deals you can make but you have to put yourself in a position where your image and music don’t shut doors for you.
This doesn’t mean you should “sell out” or not be true to yourself but be calculated, think about the moves you make. When we write music we are constantly having conversations about the lyric choices (particularly when writing for other artists), instrumental sounds etc because we have to think past just the song itself. What if we want the song to be featured in a movie or on TV? Does the song have enough energy? Will that word or phrase convey the right message to a demographic outside of the artist’s core fan base? We live in a completely connected world now and music can reach pretty much everyone so there’s no reason to be short-sighted when creating- especially when there is so much money on the table.
Taylor Swift was smart (although we still disagree with her stance on music streaming). She saw the appeal of her crossover records when she tested the water on “Red” which was a mix of her country style and straight factory made pop. The next album “1989” was all pop, she explained why she made the switch in multiple interviews but it’s pretty clear it was driven by the opportunity of gaining mass appeal. That’s not a diss on Taylor, we think she’s a phenomenal talent, but money and exposure are key to career progression. Look back at those numbers at the top, who do you think got the $10m check? The country act (Lady Antebellum) or Taylor, the new pop queen?
The lesson here is if you want to make money in music, be smart. Even if the checks aren’t coming in, get yourself and your music ready- and that goes for writers, producers and artists. It only takes one hit to start a snowball effect but if you don’t have everything set up you won’t be able to last more than one song and will miss out on the big bucks.
Get that money