Brands have always sought to associate with consumers’ interests in efforts to get close to them, and the sponsorship of live music events has long been a feature of their marketing strategies. Live music is a bigger business than ever, with Britons making a significant 26.7 million visits to venues annually.
While original music festivals like Woodstock shunned the corporate buck as a result of their anti-consumerist ethos, modern events are a different beast altogether. Savvy marketers attending festivals will be quick to notice how brands have all sorts of partnerships with organisers, ranging from stage sponsorship to exclusive bars and chill out areas. In the US alone in 2014, brands spent a massive $1.34 billion on such sponsorship.
However, sponsorship of music events can’t guarantee a connection with target consumers in its own right. There are several key challenges this sponsorship tactic faces, such as consumer distraction, and the sheer scale of commercial tie-ups at such events can make it extremely difficult to stand out among competitors.
Brands attempting to ride the coattails of live music in 2016 therefore need to take an innovative approach to stand out. One brand that has been doing this with massive success is Red Bull, whose Red Bull Music Academy not only throws regular parties featuring the hottest talent and broadcasts live radio, but also forms close associations by nurturing up-and-coming talent through lectures and studio sessions. By doing this, the brand is able to form a deep connection with the live music scene – and build its relationship with its millennial target audience for years to come.