Was that Bob Dylan, THE Bob Dylan, in a Victoria’s Secret commercial? Uh huh. Was that him again in a commercial for the 2007 Cadillac Escalade? Sure was. So what’s new? Cosmetic companies have long used Hollywood’s glamour queens to sell their brand of beauty and it’s been a good while since advertisers began using clips of popular songs in an effort to not get lost in the media crowd.
It should therefore come as no surprise that the corporate world has taken another step into the world of music. Yes, you’ve probably gone to concerts with corporate sponsorship. If you’re into alt acts, you may consider it old news that some brands now have their own labels.
Two of these are Mountain Dew’s Green Label Sound and Red Bull Records. The latest newcomer to become even more involved in the industry: Converse. The sneaker maker is building a studio to be named Converse Rubber Tracks. A major player in this trend is Cornerstone, founded by Rob Stone and Jon Cohen in the 1990s. Billboard Magazine ran a cover story on the pair that’s reprinted in PDF form on the Cornerstone Web site, http://www.cornerstonepromotion.com/cornerstone_bb.pdf.
Green Label Sound
Mountain Dew’s Green Label Sound, launched in 2008, http://www.greenlabelsound.com, lists current artists as Wavves, Neon Indian, Theophilus London, Solid Gold, Matt and Kim, and more. You can get free downloads from Green Label Sound and of course, news of all the acts. The site refers to Wavves as a “sensation” after they released two albums’ worth of “naïve punk rock” recorded on the lead singer’s laptop. The label is also wrapping up a 2010 tour with Chromeo, Theophilus London, Neon Indian, and DJ sets by Flosstradamus on the bill. Admission: not free.
But here’s where it gets complicated. Cornerstone is in charge of running Green Label Sound and Cornerstone also owns The Fader along with the magazine’s record label. Converse also hired the New York media and marketing company to handle the forthcoming studio.
Red Bull Records
This label opened not long after Mountain Dew’s. Current acts include AWOLNATION, Interpartysystem, Twin Atlantic, and Black Gold. That Web site, http://www.redbullrecords.com, includes a store that offers T-shirts and hoodies as well as music.
Red Bull also sponsors a Music Academy that gives participants the chance to attend two weeks of music lectures by leading industry names and study music production and DJ techniques. The Academy has been around for over a decade and also offers free downloads.
Converse Rubber Tracks
You may remember that Converse was behind the original single “Summertime” teaming Kid Cudi with Vampire Weekend and Best Coast. So building a big (5,200 square feet) Brooklyn studio is not a first company venture into the music industry. Studio time will be free to those bands that get a slot. Quoting from a New York Times article, “Converse says it will have no influence on the music, the artists will keep ownership rights, and, as with many brand-as-patron projects, the songs aren’t intended to be used in ads.”
Presuming that’s true, harmony wins over discord in this bands and brands partnership. For artists wanting to get in on these deals, none of the Web sites had information on how to submit.