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Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by geeza, Apr 9, 2009.
What does it mean to be an endorsing artist? What does it do for you? How do you get to be one?
hate to tell you but you're going to get some short comments that read something like...
"do a search"
this topic gets brought up every now and then. basically you have shown a company that you like their product and will help them sell it. you have to be good and visible. so if a company allows, you endorse them. in return they give you a discount - lots of time at cost - on the products you're endorsing.
for more details do a search and you'll find many threads on the topic.
I did do a search first. It didn't turn up much.
The rest of your explanation is very helpful, thanks.
not saying you didn't. just seems that there are some guys on here that love to tell people to do a search without ever actually helping them out.
if you think you're good enough and will give enough exposure, contact the companies you'd like to endorse and see what they would have you do.
I do not play full time right now, but did for a while.
I had a Gallien-Krueger endorsement deal. What I did was: called GK and spoke with artist relations. I then followed up by sending the Artist Relations rep a promo pack that included my bio, some pics, a list of GK gear that I was using at the time, and my gig schedule.
As an endorsee I got discounted gear. It wasnt free but the discount was great.
In return for the endorsement deal, companied want exposure, plain and simple. The more exposure you can give a company, the more likely you are to get an artist deal.
It depends on the deal. And the deal depends on the company and the artits. First, let's get some terminology straight, because if you understand the terms then you'll better understand the deals. "Endorse" means to recommend or approve. So the artist endorses the product, not the ohter way 'round. It's about telling people that you like this gear. It's got nothing to do with the company endorsing YOU. Make sure you're straight on that in any discussion of endorsements.
dean owens is an endorser of Spector and GK. It says so right in his tag line. Does he get anything from either company? Probably not. I'm an endorser of Laklands. And Fenders, and Eden, and Peterson, etc. I don't get anything from them (well, I got a free clean, polish, set-up, and set of strings from Dan Lakin in exchange for giving him feedback on the prototypes of the Skyline 5's...). So in one sense, we're all endorsers of what we use that we tell others we like.
Now as to formal endorsements-
The deal can be just that you get to buy gear at dealer cost, or they might give you free gear. A common thing isn't free gear, but free USE of gear if you're on tour. So if you're in East Bumble, Alabama and need a spare amp for a night, they get it to you. When I was in retail, the Ovation endorsement was that the artist could buy one guitar a year for dealer cost, but if they ever had any problems on the road, Ovation took care of it. An Ovation endorser was playing in town and his Custom Legend had a problem. The road manager called Ovation. Then Ovation called us, asked if we still had a Custom Legend on the wall. Since we did, they sent the road manager to our store, we swapped the broken guitar for the one on the wall. That way the artist had a guitar immediately. We shipped the bad one to Ovation, they shipped us a new one for stock and paid all the shipping charges and a little bit for our trouble. My understanding is that the only Ovation endorser to get a free guitar was Glen Campbell, and that was a special gift from Charlie Kamman after years and years (maybe 20?) of Campbell using the gutiars.
Yeah, some deals involve payment. But I think it's a lot less often than the more cynical people in the music biz think it is. Does Marcus Miller need the few dollars per guitar that FMIC might pay him? Does Victor Wooten get paid by Hartke now? I'm not jaundiced enough to think that's why he chose Hartke. But I'm not going to second guess the details of that part of the biz, I just don't assume endorsments are that commonly bought.
And what effect does this have? I've never been one to want a particular instrument or amp because someone else uses it. An endorsement from a player whose SOUND I like will encourage me to try something if I'm looking, but it won't make me buy it. I got into Eden partly because at the time Nathan East and Gary Willis both endorsed them. I like how they both sound every time I've heard them (including hearing Nathan live a few times). I'm not foolish enough to think they used Edens in the studio work I love, but the fact that they always sound great to me made me sniff out Eden. Then a buddy who grew up here said he thought I'd like them too. Eventually found a dealer and played through the stuff. It was the sound I'd been hearing in my head for decades. So, the endorsement encouraged me to try it, but the gear is what made me buy it.
(but if this doesn't prove that I 'did a search', I don't know what does )
So, I get the idea of artist endorsement, but I'm curious about it specific to TB; does it mean that every person who has 'endorses so and so' is actually in contact with the company and officially endorses them, or is it just kind of an 'I like these products' thing?
at TB we *ask* that members disclose their endorsement deals. But certainly it doesn't mean that every single member that does has an official endorsement, or that every member that has a deal discloses it.
I'll be quite upfront and honest with you. Over the course of a few years I developed a relationship with Brubaker Guitars. I wasn't looking for anything. I had listened to many youtube videos of Brubaker Basses and the tone of those basses just spoke to me. I became aware of their import line and based on those videos and comments by Malcolm Hall I decided to buy a Brute MJX5 to test the waters. I love my MJX5 (black bass) and it's wide flat neck and the aggressive unique tone they provide. All the while I'm communicating with Malcolm and Kevin Brubaker about Brubaker products. I happened to play a gig with the Brute and sent a CD to Kevin of the performance. I'm a TBer so naturally I spoke of my Brute on TB and joined the Brubaker Brute Club. In 2012 Brubaker came out with an import version of their Single Cut basses. I was one of the firsts to put money on one through a dealer. Donovan Bankhead at fretspot. com. Eventually I got the Single Cut and again I posted some things about the Single Cut on TB. I also have two reviews on TB for the Brutes. Somewhere between purchasing the MJX5 (full price) and the SC (full price) Brubaker turned the management of the Brute line to AP International. This is when I started communicating with Tom Richards. So one thing led to another and it was almost like a mutual aggreement that I should become an Endorising Artist. I specifically told Tom and Kevin that I wanted nothing out of the deal other than to be able to say and use that I was an Endorsing Artist for Brubaker Guitars. I like the product, play the product and believe in it. I now have a USA Brubaker KXB5 in build status and again I have paid in full for it. I have associated my name with them and vice versa and not for a price. I just like those basses and have developed a relationship with Kevin Brubaker and Tom Richards at AP International. Not rocket science. More networking and relationship building than anything else. Can I play bass? Damn Skippy. Am I the greatest. not by a long shot. I'm just an ordinary guy that loves playing bass. I just happened to find my bass, my tone and that is with Brubaker Basses.
Thanks for that philly, that was very informative. I don't think i could have asked for a more thorough A-to-B
And thanks to pacman, clearly I didn't quite understand how endorsement worked. So people can basically say 'I endorse this product!' about whatever they like without interaction from the company without any kind of repercussions? I can't for the life of me explain why now, but I had some idea that there were legal implications.
You can endorse anything you want. Whether or not the company recognizes that or not is a different story. I have agreements with two companies - both fantastic groups of people, both companies I'd endorse regardless of the deal I get. The relationship I have with them, however, is really the thing that makes it worthwhile for me.
Most endorsements are basically the same and there are some endorsements where the artist's does not pay for the gear they use but there is a trade off. Some endorsing artists know a lot about the product and inform those who may inquire about the product and are compensated in various ways. Free gear, artist discount, etc.
A lot of artists actually use the gear they endorse. When you see them live they're using the gear that you have read about and what others in the community are talking about in regards what the artist is using.
And some company have a three level arrangement.
A, B and C
Level one. High profile band(s), high profile bassist, in mags = free
Level two artist discount. Pretty decent band gigging regularly = artists discount
Level three. Up and coming band high presence potential recognized = Discount less than artist discount.
A couple of years ago (prior to my endorsements), I wouldn't have fully understood or appreciated that comment. Knowing what I do now, the relationships I've formed between some of the Artist Reps and Owners far outweigh any discounts on gear I get.
Case in point: an Artist Rep was in town last week and wanted to just grab lunch and catch up. No actual music related subjects were mentioned, just the usual shooting the bull.
+1. My teacher (yup I still take lessons) is a nationally known Jazz Bassist and he has an endorsement where he 'has' to play through a particular amp, especially in public. It all depends on the situation/contract. In the end it's about building relationships. And remember you are endorsing them. For my upcoming clinic I'll be taking two Brubaker Brutes so that folks can see firsthand the Brubaker import line. I may also have by that time my USA made Brubaker KXB5. In a nutshell these are what I play on and this is what you'll see me with in public. I do not have any restrictions so you may also see me with my Geddy Lee Jazz bass as well although I do not endorse Fender products. I just happen to like the way the bass feels in my hand.
Do you think it said that on his T & E reimbursement submission?
Vis a vis relationships - A very well known drummer (at least in jazz circles) that I play with has an artist endorsement deal with a newish cymbal company and has enough of a marquee value that he gets the cymbals for free. Not a million of them, just what he keeps to play and a couple of alternates. And it started off pretty good, they sent him a bunch to check out, he played them kept a couple he liked and sent the rest back and asked for another batch; same deal, picked a couple and sent the rest back and asked for another batch to check out. And got the response from Artist Relations "we already sent you a bunch, why don't you just play those" and had to go through a lot of back and forth about getting the cymbals he wanted for his sound that would put the best foot forward with the company when he's out there in the world or on records etc etc.
All to say, sometimes you get folks in Artist Relations that are there because they love music and sometimes you get them there because they have a background in public relations and marketing...
I'm sure his T&E line item and my expense line item look very similar.
As a manufacturer, I've had mixed feeling about the whole endorsement racket over the years. We've do very little of it here.
I will say I've been taken aback by the prominence of this as a marketing tool. If you open a copy of Bass Player, for example, and thumb through the ads, you will see page after page of ads which highlight the endorser or endorsers, without saying a word about the product. In other words after perusing the ad, you know nothing more about the product than before, only which famous artist is apparently benefiting from "endorsing" it.
I've had people approach me asking if we "do endorsements" who have never heard or laid eyes on the products. We've had high-profile players who have paid full price, and never brought it up. We've also given discounts in a limited way. The aforementioned Malcolm Hall got his Low B-1 Wedge unit for a discount, after he fell in love with it at the NAMM show, and posted a video on our FB page.
So, it sort of runs the gamut. I actually have a good friend here in Colorado whose full-time gig is as an endorser for one of the big companies. He travels all over the world doing clinics, giving away instruments, and pushing, pushing, pushing the product. It's actually a great gig- I think he's making a lot of money.
But it all sort of raises the question of credibility. Would a high-profile, and highly compensated "endorser" be using the same equipment without the endorsement deal? In many cases, yes, but certainly not in all. If my friend found an instrument, or loudspeaker he preferred, he would NEVER use it. This is undoubtedly true with a great many endorsers. So, on one hand, you can't always count on the veracity of an endorsement, but as a professional musician, it can be part of your career package/compensation.
So, it's sort of complicated. There is definitely a lot of corruption in the industry, and endorsements must therefore be taken with a grain of salt.
That said, if you're a high profile customer of ours, we'll probably talk to you...
One manufacturer, Acacia guitars, posted a very good page on the subject. I will share it here: http://acaciaguitars.com/endorsements/
We've taken to posting pictures, quotable quotes, and links to customers' website on the "Artist" page of our website, believing this has more credibility than paid shills, because these people all paid for their loudspeakers. But that's just us.
Zombie thread! I think posting this is relevant information though...
As listed in the TB rules section on Endorsements (Rule #9: Endorsed Artist / Remuneration Disclosure):
Please note : Abuse/Misuse of this field is prohibited. Do not use this field unless you have an actual established relationship with the companies you list. Other profile fields are available for you to list your favorite gear.
I doubt the mods are going to scour the users to cite you for a "false endorsement claim", but a rep from the company may ask you to remove it or file a complaint if you are not affiliated with them. Could this result in a violation charge if someone was reported as falsely endorsing a brand, Pacman?
I don't think so. The rule is there to weed out "shill" posting. I (as an endorsing artist) have to be careful about what I say about the companies I have a relationship, so as not to give free advertising on TB.
I am not an official endorser for Roscoe Basses, though I have a relationship with the guys. I have owned Roscoe basses since around 2004 when I bought a used bass. I was sold on Roscoe at that point, I love everything about the basses. I designed their old website for them and maintained it for free. I have hooked a dealer up with Roscoe and have gotten a few people hooked on their basses. I will put two Roscoe's in my double gig bag and go to Sam Ash and Guitar Center to play through different amps and cabinets and the Roscoe's always draw a crowd. I try to put my Roscoe's into as many hands as I can when at the stores.
Like Pacman and Philly said, it is about relationships. I love old knot head Gard like a brother and Keith is a really humble guy and truly appreciates his customers. The man puts up with me visiting the shop 4 or 5 times a year.
Relationships are so important it is part of my Companies tagline.
IMI Association Executives
Building Relationships - Delivering Solutions