IHM News

IHM Road Tips Vol. 8: How To Fund Your Tour Through Sponsorships

Posted By : IHM, Posted On : August 16, 2013

The following blog post assumes you have great music and a solid live show before hitting the road. Not sure? Contact Bram, head of IHM Artist Relations & Support about a show evaluation,, on twitter @bram_rocks or call 877.994.6446 xt. 2.

Businesses and brands spent a whopping $4.1 billion sponsoring live music tours in 2013. And, as you will see with a breakdown of the numbers and partnerships, brand sponsorships are the biggest benefactors of music tours – with good reason.

In IHM #roadtips volume 7, we covered how to use crowdsourcing platforms like Kickstarter to fund your tour. In part two of this mini-series, we look at utilizing sponsorships from corporations and brands to working with charities to fund your tour. Read on for tips on how to present yourself to sponsors so you can live life the dream life on the road  road and help the world at the same time.

Brand/Band Partnerships – Tour Support…and more?

According to a survey of 2000 festival goers, 41% had positive feelings towards brands that sponsor music festivals, and 40% had positive feelings towards brands that advertised at festivals. 39% believed that advertisements fit best at festivals than other locations. Alcohol played an especially prominent role, as 75% of festival goers spotted alcohol ads (36% spotted fashion advertisements). Looking at those numbers, it’s easy to see why brands would want to associate themselves with the experience of live music. Consider the following tour sponsorships:

  • Beyonce signed a $50 million sponsorship deal with Pepsi that includes tour funding. That deal is in addition to a similar deal Pepsi signed with Nicki Minaj

  • Not to be outdone, Coke signed a deal with Live Nation to sponsor tours

  • Jagermeister sponsored former Busted front man Charlie Simpson’s tour and album fees, and sent him to Siberia to play the “world’s coldest gig”.  The company even has its own music division

  • One Direction’s latest tour is sponsored by Nabisco

  • PBR will promote Kiss as part of a summer bull riding tour

  • Rockstar Energy Drink is currently sponsoring a tour called Rockstar Uproar featuring IHM artist Chuck Shaffer Picture Show is currently on the tour, who, after using to report music sales, will most likely be charting on the Billboards. Rockstar Energy Drink sponsored an entire metal tour in the past.

  • Vans sponsors the Warped Tour. Many indie and DIY acts have made handsome profits off of selling their merch freely to thousands of attendees, including past charting IHM artistThe Silver Comet

As you can see above, a wide range of businesses – especially beer, clothing, and energy drink companies – are sponsoring tours. Remember the original number – $4.1 billion. So how do you get a piece of the pie?  

How To Present Yourself for Sponsors

“My rep at the largest music instrument company in the world says that he gets 300-500 emails a week asking for endorsed artist information. So why did he pick my band, The Slants, out of all of those? Because we focused on the company…we offered a new target audience that they weren’t reaching, we had a unique angle to our music and branding, and they would benefit from working with us. Find a way to explain why you are the “first, the only, the original” of what you do” – Simon Tan, author of How to Get Sponsorships and Endorsements

Like our previous #roadtips for creating a successful Kickstarter project and getting into music conference showcases through building an exceptional EPK (#roadtips volume 3), the key to creating a package and getting a sponsorship is to stand out.  The most effective way to stand out is to develop a concrete plan for what you can do for a brand. Businesses receive hundreds of sponsorship queries a week asking for money. Instead, be different by offering brands something for free.  For example, IHM artist State of Man (indiehitmaker co-founder, John Stringer’s band) offered Budweiser a free sponsorship during the band’s CD release party and ended up landing a Budweiser True Music band sponsorship back in that programs peak. That also lead to a headlining slot at Atlanta’s historic Tabernacle for a sold out Budweiser True Music night not long after!  

And like a successful Kickstarter project or EPK, it’s important to know how to put together an effective package for sponsors. According to Tan’s 8 step format and Dave Huffman’s partnership template, an effective proposal includes:

  • a cover letter – this is an opportunity to provide a unique visual featuring you and your potential sponsor

  • a one sheet with specific details of your band such as demographic and audience (documenting music sales at live shows through indiehitmaker can provide you with concrete leverage)

  • a page describing details of your tour

  • a page describing what you provide in the partnership – don’t focus only on specifics here (like a logo placement), but pitch three specific collaboration ideas.

  • a page describing what they provide – yes, you want cash, but you can also think of out of the box ways that a potential sponsor can make touring life easier

  • a sponsorship agreement page

However you go about putting together your proposal, start with specific examples of what you can do for a brand.

Tour Support That Can Save the World – Tom Jackson Productions

Here’s a tour support option you most likely have never considered or even knew existed. Many charitable organizations financially compensate artists who support their cause. If you are already passionate about a cause, or interested in supporting one such as women’s issues, ending poverty, world hunger, and children’s rights, then look to the tour support program offered by Tom Jackson Productions. They put artists and organizations together to help underwrite touring, gear and recording costs through cost effective and efficient fundraising opportunities at your live show. And the crowds eat it up, Artists have received $70-90 million in sponsorships by working with these organizations. Unlike a brand sponsor, you incorporate the charity into your show in a very personal way. Ultimately it is a win/win for all. The artist gets tour expenses funded, the philanthropic organizations get a new audience and the beneficiaries receive the support they so dearly need. If you perform at least 25 live concerts or more a year, your first step to helping yourself and the world begins by filling out an application here.

Looking to Go International? Huge Things are Happening in China

The Far East is quickly catching up to Western culture and the Youth Generation is starving for western music and brands. Whereas the states may have plateaued in music and concert sales, China is only getting started. Millions of people in China are looking for experiences and products that define western culture with money to spend, and companies like MusicGuanxi are filling that void. They are currently looking for indie and DIY artists to send over to China as Brand Ambassadors. MusicGuanxi sponsors you to play enormous festivals and packed venue shows across Asia to promote their brand on and off the stage. And with so many eager fans attending these shows, it is instant rock stardom. Chinese music fans cherish the experience and the giveaways – it’s the British invasion all over again, this time in the Far East.

Want to go to China? Request an Invite from MusicGuanxi and submit your application to become a brand ambassador to China.

 Lastly, keep in mind that sponsorships are not just about money. Brands can provide value in other short term ways like giving you transportation or new equipment. And if all goes well, it may result in a fruitful, long term relationship.


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Have a question, comment or feedback? Tweet us @indiehitmaker #RoadTips orcontact us online.

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*Source: Tom Jackson Live Music Method, Buy the book


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