How to Obtain a Musician's Endorsement
Aspiring musicians often seek to acquire an endorsement from a major musical instrument or accessory manufacturer. Endorsement as aren’t necessarily easy to obtain. An endorsement with well known manufacturers, for example from Randall Amps, Gibson guitars or Neumman microphones can set you apart from the musicians who don’t have such an endorsement
What is an endorsement?
An endorsement is a major companies way of saying its is a professional musician that we feel is qualified enough to represent our brand. The endorsement often gets the musician free gear and equipment. In some cases with very famous artists companies that endorse them will also create a “signature line” of instruments.
A signature line is one where the artist consulted with the manufacturer and made suggestions on the style that resulted in a new model they wouldn’t have designed without that artists input. Artist signature equipment is generally priced higher to the public, while of course remaining free to the artist.
How can endorsements help your career?
The reason an endorsement can help your career is partly the credibility factor. Because it can be so difficult to obtain an endorsement, it makes you look credibile because you must be of a certain caliber both in talent as well as experience (and a big fan base helps too). If you have the endorsement, you must be damn good, that’s what it says!
Another way an endorsement helps is that you no longer have to pay for equipment. You also will make some earning from the company using your image, and they might even pay you to make appearances to major industry events like NAMM. Now even though this is a perk, it shouldn’t be the reason you are going for the endorsement. Remember that you are endorsing the company, not the other way around. If you are just into the endorsement for the free stuff the company will pick up on this.
How hard it is to obtain an endorsement?
Depending on the manufacturer you can get some endorsements easily, while a majority of them are difficult to obtain. New manufacturers or small time companies are much easier to obtain an endorsement from. When you start looking at the big names however, you must have a lot of experience and an name in the industry. A large provable fanbase helps, but typically you must be a regular gigging highly talented musician to gain an endorsement with big name companies like Yamaha, Fender, M-Audio, etc.
How to do you obtain an endorsement?
Obtaining an endorsement can be handled two ways. The first is to seek your favorite company’s website and see if they have an endorsement policy already defined on their website. Some manufacturers make it clear what you must do to obtain the endorsement while others do not publish any information on how to obtain one.
If you can’t find any information next you want to contact the company and ask who the Artist Rep (or A&R) person is. Once you found this person you next want to send them your press kit. Your press kit should contain your band’s bio, at least 3 songs, photos, any press coverage and your performance schedule.
Another way you can obtain an endorsement is by attending an industry trade show or other event where there are manufacturers readily displaying their product. A popular venue that musicians flock to is NAMM. This musical instrument manufacturing trade show happens twice a year; Anaheim in the summer and Nashville in the winter. Here you can speak directly to the manufacturers and work your magic discussing with them how you are the next big artists and how you should be chosen to represent their company.
There’s an awesome guide on a website http://bestguitarlessons.com/how-to-get-into-namm/ that gives you plenty of information on how to get into the NAMM convention. This guide gives some secrets to get in (it’s not easy because it’s a private event that doesn’t sell tickets to the public) and also makes recommendations of where to stay.
Popular musician endorsement programs
While a lot of companies don’t post an obvious page that explains how to obtain an endorsement with them, I have been able to scour up a few links. Here are some links to some popular endorsement programs:
Guitars & Bass
· C:\Documents and Settings\a05826\Application Data\Microsoft\Excel\– http://washburn.com/about/faq.php
· Peavy - http://peavy.com/support/artistsform
Drums & Cymbals
· Zildjian – http://zildjian.com/Support/FAQs
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