Getting an artist endorsement sounds like the sort of thing we all dream about, right? But what does it actually entail, and how can you get one? My name is Fenn and I’m the Artist Relations Manager for Laney Amplification. I am going to give you a step-by-step guide on what some of the jargon really means, how we do things at Laney, and how/when to go about ‘getting an endorsement.’
The above photo is the thing we as musicians strive for: A hot day playing your own music to a sea full of people all there to see YOU. Getting endorsed won’t get you famous, but having an artist endorsement can certainly help raise awareness and reach new demographics. But first, what does it actually mean?
To be endorsed, you undertake an agreement between two parties. In our case, Laney Amplification and you as an artist would both agree that a return on investment is viable for each. This will usually mean that you officially say that you play Laney and we officially say that you use our amplifiers… it really is that simple.
At Laney, we have different levels of artist endorsement from level 1 to level 3. For example, Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) is absolutely a level 1 artist. This means that he gets our full support with equipment anywhere he travels around the world. A level 2 artist is someone who is quite a big name but perhaps only within their own territory. We will also support these level 2 artists when they are touring, providing we have loan equipment available in the respective territory they are touring in. If we do not, then they must ensure they have their Laney ‘fly rig’ wherever they go, this is usually an IRT-SLS for guitarists and a DB-PRE for bassists.
Level 3 would be a growing artist. Perhaps they aren’t quite at the ‘big name’ level or bringing awareness to the brand that is substantial yet. Now, the imperative word across that last sentence was ‘yet’. This is because we only want people who would be considered a level 3 if they have the drive to want to grow as an artist – this comes down to exposure. We want to help artists grow, provided they’re willing to put the work in.
‘Exposure’ is a very integral word when it comes to an endorsement/being an official artist. It used to be a very simple term, and in the past, it was more deemed to mean: The bigger your band, the better the exposure and therefore the higher level artist you are. This is no longer the case, so every single artist must be looked at individually when being assessed to warrant an endorsement. In a virtual age of likes and followers, we believe social media metrics are important but not imperative. If someone has 2000 followers and isn’t very active on social media but they’re playing to stadia of people every night then there is still significant exposure. It also works the other way, if someone never plays a live show but they have hundreds of thousands of subscribers/followers then they clearly have a significant level of exposure so they are absolutely worth looking at to endorse.
Beyond all these levels and exposures etc etc etc, there is one thing we focus all endorsements around: attitude.
Attitude is something that is often overlooked but is very important to us at Laney. From an artist endorsement perspective, attitude is a major factor in how the relationship between the artist and brand will play out. Remember, this works both ways. There is no point in the brand promising the earth when in reality, nothing will happen. Likewise, there is no point in empty promises from a band. With each artist, a happy medium must be found and struck, which is wholly down to the relationship between the artist and the artist relations manager.
If from the get-go it is a struggle to come to an agreement of what both sides will do, or what you both want from an endorsement, then you have to think: how long is that relationship really going to last? That is what everything relies on, the relationship, and more importantly, the trust to both pull in the same direction so everyone benefits.
As with anything in life, there is always a compromise to be made and a conversation worth having, and if you don’t ask then you may not get. To be endorsed is a great opportunity, but you have to be certain that it is the correct next step for you as a musician.
If you believe you are ready to approach a brand about artist endorsement, then do your homework first. On countless occasions, we have seen artists send a generic email with every other artist relations manager they could find copied in. Don’t do this!
For me, if my attention is getting caught then it is because of a few things: genuine interest in Laney Amplification, a concise but coherent email, and the most important thing… A LINK TO YOUR MUSIC! If I can’t listen to it then I can’t assess for endorsement. You may be surprised at how many artists forget to add a link to their EPK (electronic press kit) or any link to a place where I can listen to the music.
To wrap this up, you simply have to remember the reasons why you want to be a musician. If it’s to get famous, then embrace it. Want to make money? Embrace it (good luck). If it is to make music and change the world, then embrace it! Determination is driven by passion and music is an artform that transcends all forms of disparity we find in the world.
So, be: Passionate, Articulate, Professional.