Any brand with enough money can attach itself to the biggest music acts in the world. But finding a lesser-known band—one that hasn’t hit iTunes or the Billboard charts yet—can be more difficult. Hooking on with an up-and-coming band that has a following in a given market can give a brand instant credibility among the target audience.
When you’re on the outside of a market looking in it might be difficult to separate the next My Morning Jacket from the group that’s destined for the bar mitzvah circuit. Three tips:
Bring in outside sources. When time or money make it difficult to fully scout acts in each market consider using an outside resource. For a battle of the bands competition last year Zippo Manufacturing hired online music community Sonicbids which connects local bands with promoters and other opportunities to locate and attract emerging acts in each market. The service allowed Zippo to check out a variety acts’ music photos and touring schedules—and the company could filter the results to a particular genre of music. “You can pretty much hone it down to exactly what you’re looking for ” says Brent Tyler Zippo’s event marketing and promotions manager.
Scavenge the market. Every city offers several ways to scout out potential local acts. “Every market has a music scene that has a certain vibe but there is a group of influencing factors in each place that you can tap into ” says Cory Isaacson ceo of Chicago-based agency Walton/Isaacson. Clubs and other venues featuring live music are the most obvious opportunities.
Other options: alternative media including independent newspapers (find a list of alt weeklies at aan.org) and radio. In larger markets try connecting with local promoters at venues and agents that rep individual acts.
Tap your own resources. If your company employs people in the markets that your event program is going to—or if your business partners have reps there—consider asking them about the best local acts. To find performers for its in-store events Virgin Megastores ask employees to speak up if they’re in a band or if they know of a good local act. “Our store staff are… in the know in our local marketplaces and they can make recommendations for us to pursue ” says Katy Mollica director-strategic marketing for the brand.