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Study: Music Sponsorship Spend Hits High Note

Marketing Daily, April 28, 2011

By Aaron Baar

The days of rock and rollers refusing corporate sponsorships of their music and tours are long over. According to sponsorship tracker IEG, music sponsorship opportunities -- ranging from multiday festivals to multinational tours -- are generating more corporate interest than any other opportunities.

"The concerns over perceptions of selling out are long gone," William Chipps, senior editor of IEG Sponsorship Report, tells Marketing Daily. "Nowadays the music industry is turned upside down. The artists as well as the music promoters are all looking for new ways to promote their bands and music."

According to IEG, which measures sponsorship spending, North American-based companies will spend $1.17 billion sponsoring music venues, festivals and tours, a 7.3% increase over the $1.09 billion spent in 2010. That increase outpaces the 5.9% in expected growth in overall sponsorship spending and is the largest increase among all property types, including sports, causes and the arts.

"When you look at sports, it's a really mature sponsorship category, so you don't see super-big growth," Chipps says. "Music provides an opportunity to reach young adult audiences, and that's a demographic that's hard to reach. It's a way to gain one-on-one marketing opportunities with this audience." Much of the growth in this spending comes from companies -- ranging from apparel and automotive to technology and telecommunications -- on multi-day festivals. In recent weeks, companies such as Sweet Leaf Tea Co. and Camelbak have signed on as sponsors for Houston's Free Press Summer Fest and Chicago's Lollapalooza, respectively.

To a lesser extent, sponsorship of music venues (such as Live Nation's purchase of naming rights to the Virginia Beach Amphitheater) and individual tours (like Schick Quattro for Women's backing of Katy Perry's upcoming tour) are also seeing some renewed interest, particularly as the economy improves, Chipps says. "More companies are embracing it as a marketing platform," he says. "The last couple of years have been challenging for marketing and sponsorship."