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American Brand Stand

Nashville Business Journal, March 12, 2010

By Linda Bryant

Rascal Flatts’ deal with J.C. Penney in mid-2009 featured a dedicated Web site, TV commercials and a number of retail promotions.

The members of Lady Antebellum are newly minted superstars with a Grammy, seven CMA nominations and an appearance on Oprah. But even before the trio was the commodity it is today, a touring sponsorship was in the works with Brita water filters, a brand owned by The Clorox Co.

The Nashville-based country crossover group isn’t alone. Sponsorships are ever-present and expected to keep growing — at least with established musical luminaries, rising stars expected to hit it big and well-known music-related events such as Nashville’s CMA Music Festival.

“Almost every artist I know is at least open to listening to a product or service endorsement,” said Charlie Dahan, an agent with The Roots Agency, a New Jersey-based boutique talent agency that works with a lineup of folk, Americana and classic artists including Arlo Guthrie, Richie Havens, Lesley Gore and The Chieftans.

Overall spending on corporate sponsorships declined in 2009, but spending related to music and entertainment touring showed a slight uptick of about 1 percent, said William Chipps, senior editor of IEG Sponsorship Report. Chicago-based IEG LLC, which publishes the IEG Sponsorship Report, is one of the only companies in the United States devoted to independent research, consulting, training and analysis on sponsorship.