Any Band Can (and Should) Get Sponsors
Over $1 billion is spent on sponsorships every year in the music world.
As one might expect, most of that money goes to mega tours, huge music festivals, and to artists who have already found success. But the subject of securing sponsorships comes up often in my work with independent bands, and the key to obtaining your share of that pot of gold is knowing your audience, knowing how you can benefit a company that might sponsor you, and being creative with your ideas. It is easier than ever to figure out who your audience is, at least in terms of their age, gender, and location. If you have a Facebook page, a Reverb Nation account, or something along those lines, you can access that data with a few mouse clicks.
Unearthing more in-depth details about who your fans are can be slightly trickier, but if you start with certain specific questions, you can at least make educated guesses. Where do they shop? What are their hobbies? Do they buy music online or at record stores? The more questions like these that you can answer, the better your pitch will be when talking to sponsors.
The next important step involves identifying sponsors. As previously mentioned, most of the money that goes toward sponsoring artists or festivals comes from huge corporations to big, established stars. And so when it comes to independent bands, it’s a good idea to target smaller business and local, community-oriented companies instead.
As an example, let’s say you are planning a tour, and need to send out posters to each venue. You looked at the costs, and are estimating it will be about $30 per show. Having a sponsor to cover those expenses would be great, and I guarantee that in each market you play, there is a local restaurant, music shop, record store, or clothing boutique that is trying to reach an audience similar to your fan base.
After you make sure that your audience is made up of the people the potential sponsor is targeting, your next goal needs to be to figure out how you can benefit that sponsor.
You can get very creative with this. You could reach out to those companies and ask them to cover the cost of your posters for that particular city. In exchange, you put their logo on the posters and maybe raffle off a gift certificate at your show for them.
When reaching out to potential sponsors, make sure you use hard numbers to really sell the idea. Using the above example, let them know that your posters will be hanging at the venue 14 days prior to your show. During that time, the venue expects 2,300 people to walk into their club. Tell them you are expecting 200 people at your show, and that you will say the sponsors name at least twice on stage. Just by looking at those numbers, it makes sense that the sponsor would give you $30 in exchange for that type of exposure. If you can do that in every city on your 20 date tour, you just saved $600. That is good stuff.
Don’t just stop at finding sponsors for your posters. Sponsors can also be great help in getting people out to a show. If you know your audience loves to drink, for example, do some research to see if the venue you are playing at serves beer from a local brewery. If so, get in touch with the brewery and try to work out a deal. Maybe if you buy a keg for the evening, they will give you a free keg. That $105 you spent on the keg could be easily turn into $300 in ticket sales and a bunch of new people being exposed to your live set.
So do your research. Know your fans. Think about potential sponsors that would benefit from being exposed to your fans. Figure out a creative way to expose those sponsors to your fans. Get on it!