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Does Gear Cost More Because of Endorsements?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by 5544, Apr 23, 2017.

  1. 5544


    Dec 1, 2015
    I have to wonder if brands charge more for their products to pay for all the product endorsement and royalty payments.

    I remember watching an interview with Jerry Cantrell talking how Eddie Van Halen had enough gear to fill up a garage after a conversation those two had about tone.
  2. Take a look at any signature item, guitar, bass, pickups, and there's your answer.
    The Dee Dee Ramone signature Precision was just another Precision from Mexico, but with almost double the price tag of a Standard.

    Yes, I'm sure the cost of doing business in this way is passed along to the customer.
    They don't endorse an artist for the warm fuzzy it gives them.
    covermego, thespoon and Bunk McNulty like this.
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I wouldn't let you use my name for free. So, yes, if there was a two fingers signature bass two fingers would be getting paid every time one sold....or have a contract to get an annual endorsement fee....or whatever.

    Yes, it makes those pieces more expensive.

    Now, does a Tony Franklin signature Fender make a Fender Rumble 100 more expensive? I doubt it.
    pie_man_25 and Burwabit like this.
  4. 5544


    Dec 1, 2015
    I'm not talking signature models because that is a given for extra cost due to the name attached.

    To put it another way, think of it as beer at the grocery store vs. buying at a bar. The beer at the bar cost 4x as much as it would at the store when buying the same exact thing. The markup is because you are paying for the ambiance that goes along with the beer itself.

    With that being said, if there were no endorsements at all - meaning a kid off the street pays the same amount as a famous rock star getting ready to walk on stage - would prices be lower overall?
  5. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Think of endorsements as advertising, because that's exactly what they are. Do they make instruments cost more? Potentially, but offset by increasing volume of sales.
    Anachronism, INTP, lakefx and 7 others like this.
  6. And there are endorsements . . . . . and there are endorsements. A household-name guitar maker uses 'seconds' for a lot of 'endorsement' players (see a lot of the 'XXX Endorsing Artists' here in TB), and if you're an Eddie or other world-famous zillion seller, you get the real one-off, custom-shop-stuff-you-and-me-can't-buy heartbreakers. Accounting, as always, can make almost anything possible. My favorite was a local Nashville sideman who wound up appearing in three different ads for three different bass builders in BASS PLAYER mag in the same issue ! You can imagine what happened . . . . .
    lakefx and hrodbert696 like this.
  7. 5544


    Dec 1, 2015
    I guess I am not as gullible as others because I don't buy products based on what someone else uses.

    Besides, a product must not that great if the company has to pay someone to use their instrument.
  8. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    All companies pay to advertise. And while you might not make a direct purchase because of what another player plays, you do have another opportunity to hear and see the instrument, which might lead to a sale.
    GregC and hrodbert696 like this.
  9. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    And he's dead, so it isn't like he ever used one, or is seeing a nickle of the money from it.
  10. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    There are different levels of endorsements. Most of the time it is just a discount, or access to a custom model. The guys that aren't huge mega stars don't get free stuff.
    So no, I don't think endorsement deals increase the price of gear. Actually, if adjusted for inflation, simple instruments are fairly cheap.
    GregC, WesW, thespoon and 1 other person like this.
  11. trowaclown


    Feb 26, 2008
    Out of curiosity, could you share a little more about this? Who was it, what were the brands, how was this resolved?
  12. Fun Size Nick

    Fun Size Nick

    Feb 21, 2006
    Hong Kong
    As others have said, endorsements are a form of advertising. Companies pay for advertising because it influences buying decisions, and helps them sell more products. This influence includes the base level of simply informing a given person that the product exists, so you don't have to be 'gullible' for endorsements or advertising to influence your buying decision. As an example, I might not have known that Aguilar amps exist if I had not seen a number of endorsing artists play them, but because I did see them, I was then motivated to learn more about them, and eventually bought one.

    Also, most endorsers are not paid money to do so - just ask any of the endorsing artists on Talkbass!

    So yes, part of the money that you pay for an instrument pays for advertising - but the same is true of everything else that you buy. Heck, if you buy something through the TB classifieds, part of that money could be said to be paying for the seller's Supporting Membership fees!
    GregC, WesW, VerryBerry and 2 others like this.
  13. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Of course they do. It's the cost of marketing, and someone has to pay for those amps & guitars. But for most companies, it's a trivial expense. 5% at most.
  14. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    These companies have been around a bit so they all can do the math.
    Having people endorse your stuff is advertising. Advertising done right costs money but leads to more brand recognition and ultimately to more sales.

    A 'pro Model' which in most cases is just a slightly modified piece of standard gear that costs a lot more than the standard piece does not cost much more because the company has to pay off the artist's fees with the surplus, but it costs more because people are willing to pay more for the signature model.
  15. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    Ever play a Norm Stockton Sig MTD? Worth. Every. Penny.
  16. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    I've always said that signature series instruments are just an excuse for manufacturers to inflate prices. People are buying the instruments believing that they are exactly like what the artist uses and that they will be able to get the same tone. In the vast majority of cases, the signature series looks like the artist's instrument but other components are different. For example, a Fender Marcus Miller bass might look like his, but I remember reading that as soon as he received basses from Fender, he would change the pre-amp. I have never and will never buy a signature series instrument. The manufacturer pays the artist for the use of their name. Why should we pay more for that?
    PillO likes this.
  17. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    Yes, but the MM Jazz is made in Japan and is right around 1000 bucks. Sounds (and plays) and looks legit.
  18. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    As others have said, it's a form of advertising, and probably cheaper than a lot of other advertising is - you don't see Fender taking out Super Bowl ads, after all. An endorsement deal generally means the player gets (maybe) some free instruments and service, and the company gets his picture in a print ad in Guitar Player magazine or on their website saying, "Joe Schmoe loves his Doohickey guitar!"

    Not buying an instrument BECAUSE it's a sig model is as irrational as buying it merely because of the sig. I have sometimes considered buying sig models, not because of the name on it but because it has a combination of features I'm interested in. For example, for a while Squier had an Eva Gardner signature bass. I had no idea who Eva Gardner was (turns out she's the bassist for Pink). But it was a P bass with a J neck, which was a combination I was very interested in. It cost $299, and I have no reason to think that was inflated at all - it was exactly what a VM Squier cost at the time, and based on reviews by the few people on TB who got one, seems to have been consistent with the VM quality level.

    As it happens, I pieced together a Frankenbass instead. When the MIM Fender neck twisted, I went looking for another, and wound up buying the neck from a Squier James Johnston signature J on the Stratosphere, which is on it to this day. It was the best neck in my budget and has done great since.
  19. TrevorR


    Oct 3, 2015
    Near London, UK
    This. I know a few people with endorsement deals and most of them can get limited amounts of gear at, effectively, a wholesale price rather than retail. So quite a significant saving to them but very cheap advertising for the company.
    hrodbert696 and DrayMiles like this.
  20. 5544


    Dec 1, 2015
    Pretty much any picture of any artist playing an instrument is considered an advertisement whether or not they are an endorser of the product or not. To take it a step farther, every single thread with people posting New ____ Day, shows their gear list & what clubs they belong in their signatures are also considered an advertisement.

    It seems like companies are just throwing away their money by paying for someone else's gear in this day and age.

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