PDA

View Full Version : Corporate Sponsorship of Music



Corpsey
10-05-2017, 11:00 AM
More specifically dance music, of the sort which traditionally (or originally) had an anti-establishment charge.

What do you make of it?

I'm talking Red Bull Music Academy, DJ sets at Uniqlo, Budweiser sponsored Boiler Rooms, etc. Brands courting street cred.

pattycakes_
10-05-2017, 11:37 AM
it's completely fucked. young people who are new to the scene will see it as normal. independent businesses are being priced out of the game.

corps have been mining whatever's cool for decades now, but this is such a big step towards total blandification.

Corpsey
10-05-2017, 12:16 PM
Went on a little nostalgia trip last night, listening to dubstep (via Spotify, ironically enough), and it struck me that DMZ would never have done a tie in with a corporate sponsor in those days (if indeed they would do now). Obviously it was still a commercial enterprise but - as easy as it was to take the piss out of - there was a sense that the music was meaningful and transcendent, and would have been tarnished by a 'brought to you by Reebok'.

Noticing, too, how many tunes aren't on Spotify, and therefore how music that ISN'T on Spotify doesn't really exist for me anymore.

I sympathise with those DJs / artists / promoters who are taking the money cos there's fuck all money in music these days otherwise.

Corpsey
10-05-2017, 12:19 PM
Actually, of course, dubstep was co opted fairly rapidly, due to its evolution taking it out of the exclusive zone of huge speakers in dark rooms.

I guess you could argue that grime evolved similarly - away from cheap fruity loops and playstation sounds. To a more polished form which could be stuck on the stage at a radio 1 event or even in the background for an advert.

john eden
10-05-2017, 12:28 PM
I think it was inevitable that corporate sponsorship would fill the gap when people stopped buying music.

There was a really good long piece by Derek Walmsley in The Wire about visiting one of the RBMA things and how networky it was.

Fortunately there is still lots of music I like which is so marginal that I doubt it will ever get corp sponsorship. But in general it is a wholesale destruction of a fairly sizable DIY/alternative/autonomous ecosystem....

CrowleyHead
10-05-2017, 01:39 PM
The problem isn't so much that nobody buys the music, because there's ways around that obviously where you can actually make a ton of money if you're willing to make certain legitimate hustles work. Let's be honest, we know that in dance music there's generally more access to your own personal funds for certain people but labels playing fast and loose with royalties for their own aggendas, bad publishing deals, getting tied up in contracts with the majors... That still happens even here and always did. Look at the history of TRAX in house. I'm certain that there's at least one or two labels from the grime/dubstep days that a lot of artists might've thrived on and then later they learned they weren't seeing any money from it. In fact, wasn't there a specific label that I think the more 'wonky' side had that did really well, but had to dramatically close and afterwards the artists said "Yeah we never saw a dime from those releases"? Goes to show.

The problem Corpse points to is the curatorial aspect of Music as Artistic Content. Red Bull are profiting off their ability to cut the middleman out and not support traditional music mags (like a Mixmag would ideally function) and instead be the providers of the history and the information. Now, a lot of this history has been ignored by traditional music journalism/media because it never fell in the primary aggendas of record companies and sales; a Rolling Stone for example should easily put their time and effort into documenting the life and times of Junie Morrison, but their money is APPARENTLY in Pearl Jam Comeback albums. Sad state of affairs.

That conundrum is the real danger for me because you can have these people in the background doing their thing... Kids are smart; they don't think Doc Marten is cool because they set up a booth at the festival they wanted to go to. They're here to dance, talk, enjoy music, whatever. But the thing is who they determine to give that money to, what music is WORTH Keeping alive.

Without going into it, I was trying to pitch a huge Road Rap narrative article to a certain magazine/website, about how it's been a decade of on-off flirtations from the mainstream but now it seems able to reach these audiences that Grime had done for years. Essentially they told me they didn't want to commit because "There Was No Story" but I imagine that its because Road Rap cannot get them the clientele of hip, young people with money to blow without any real 'risk' like Grime does. Geenus joked he could make Rinse a global brand because Dubstep was "Safe Grime" and right now the reality is Grime has become "Safe Road Rap".

Now that's a very specific conundrum that irks me but again its the decision of what genres/musicians/stories are profitable to these magazines/websites or even places like the MOMA PS1 stuff in NYC where you have all this music presented to an arthouse audience... Why are x people more commodifiable than others, why is it the same spaces dependant on the same influencers, why is there always the ONE act out of a group of people doing similar things. Because very very rarely do they then take effort to ensure everyone is getting recognition and notice, its whomever have the direct relationships or whom they see the benefit.

Corporate Sponsorship of Music isn't bad because money's being made at its expense in my view. Its that when that profit can't be made, then that music is deemed unvaluable and therefore unimportant.

Corpsey
10-05-2017, 03:19 PM
independent businesses are being priced out of the game.


This is something that hasnt occurred to me before. It's an interesting one, too, because these huge brands have arrived on the scene at this thing they didn't do shit to help build, and are profiting off the past labour of others.

It reminds me of when Nike started making skate shoes. I remember (this being the tail end of my infatuation with skateboarding, though Nike had nothing to do with my losing interest) there being a lot of anti-Nike sentiment at the time, and rightly so really. They turned up when skateboarding had built itself up to become this profitable thing, no thanks to them, and with their huge advertising budget and salaries they were able to take over the market pretty easily. Nowadays I dunno how things are but I wouldn't be surprised if Nike SB is a fairly accepted brand. (The other issue here is that Nike represents absolutely none of the punk/rebel aspects of skate culture. Is the antithesis of that culture, in fact.)

Crowley thanks for the in depth response as usual. Will have to engage more fully with that when I'm not at work. However I do want to pick up on the thing about a musics perceived value because that is interesting and resonates with something that I feel has happened to me since the internet made visible numbers such a thing.

droid
10-05-2017, 03:26 PM
Nike bought out Savier, who made fantastic super tough skate shoes that lasted years and closed them down.

firefinga
10-05-2017, 10:27 PM
I think the Red Bull Music Academy isn't that bad. They usually got a good set of people doing those lectures etc. And it's such a small sector of their advertising. Taken into account how little of interest is left for "advanced dance music" (or whatever you'd like to call it) I am a bit surprised RBMA is actually still going.

Of course,in the 2010s with the EDM hype, you got 100% commercialised "entertainment" where the music has become the least important part of that whole circus. Or with mainstream hip hop going on for decades by now where music is nothing much more than a marketing-vehicle to sell your clothing line/headphones/streaming service.

CrowleyHead
11-05-2017, 02:19 AM
Frankly the ties between the aggendas of people with money are more apparent in the "Advanced" musics than they are in EDM festivals if you ask me.

Patronage is not an inherently evil nor avoidable concept. The Medicis allowed so and so to be artists and thusly car companies get to fund Todd Edwards car singles, its the evolution of the system. It's the process of distinction of worthiness. You got Converse borrowing grime aesthetics for advertisements and trying to imply they have some subliminal value to the culture, and the artists don't mind because they're getting money they can't get in a clear bulk from the support of their fans buying records they themselves have to invest in.

Products in a music video? The artists don't care and aren't ALLOWED to care, they're often barely involved; its like asking any of the actors in the X-Men movies if they're really concerned about Bryan Singer being a pedophile; studios, agents, they're all dictating that this is the way the career is going to go, you go here and make this money and you'll be secured and we invested X into you, fucking brat show your gratitude etc. etc. The minute you start thinking about the traps is the minute you realize they need you to be tied INTO the traps to have power.

The insidiousness of trying to get into the so-called non-mainstream is that they work to infiltrate the places in which they do not actually HAVE power or capital.

pattycakes_
11-05-2017, 08:22 PM
They turned up when skateboarding had built itself up to become this profitable thing, no thanks to them, and with their huge advertising budget and salaries they were able to take over the market pretty easily. Nowadays I dunno how things are but I wouldn't be surprised if Nike SB is a fairly accepted brand. (The other issue here is that Nike represents absolutely none of the punk/rebel aspects of skate culture. Is the antithesis of that culture, in fact.)

if you swapped skate shoes for city areas and nike for estate agents, you'd be describing gentrification


I think the Red Bull Music Academy isn't that bad. They usually got a good set of people doing those lectures etc. And it's such a small sector of their advertising. Taken into account how little of interest is left for "advanced dance music" (or whatever you'd like to call it) I am a bit surprised RBMA is actually still going.

for me it's a double edged sword. there are some incredibly inspiring lectures; mtume, patrick adams, melvin van peebles & robert hood, just to name a few. i'll be carrying around bits of those in my head for life. but my inner bill hicks won't allow me to ignore the fact that corporate sponsorship should always be met with utter scepticism. because we all know that statistically, it serves the brand more than the scene.

redbull prides itself on being in touch with youth culture, especially dance music, because the product goes hand in hand with clubbing. this is a red flag imo.

ultimately, it's a matter of principle. general rule of thumb: the bigger the budget, the warier we should be. i think we're witnessing shift in reality where practically every facet of our existence is being corporatized. our minds are becoming corporate nodes. we're losing touch with our instincts as we face the crumbling of our world around us. our instincts used to tell us to rebel and make art which reflected that (broad strokes, i know, but cmon) and now we're having those same instincts redirected by the powers that be to help cultivate the reality that serves them so well.

could go on but you get the jist.



- a big negative nancy, who's posting from inside a kfc because they have pretty good wifi.

firefinga
11-05-2017, 08:47 PM
I was actually organising parties with a couple of mates from the late 1990s into the mid 2000s and we had of course sponsors, yet they didn't interfere with how we were running things. It was always clear we would never take money in exchange for demands from the sponsors. But then, we always kept it low profile and never wanted to make it big money wise. I haven't been involved in organising events in almost a decade now so I frankly don't know shit bout todays situation. My general impression seeing how it went for other crews: money most certainly corrupts, in a subtle way.