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Endorsement Deals in the Music Industry

Music endorsement deals are when an artist is directly affixing their name to a company or product. It means the artist is endorsing and approving that product and confirming to the audience that they use it exclusively.

Last updated: 01 February 2024

What is an endorsement deal?

Signing an endorsement deal means free gear or a hefty discount on retail price, but arranging one is not easy, and even if you have been lucky enough to sign one, it is not the end of the story. After all, an endorsement is a two-way commercial promotion deal — the company’s equipment in return for your profile and presence.

The types of endorsement deals can be broken down into three levels:

Level 1 - Newish acts who already have a national profile would usually be given a generous discount on an instrument plus permission to use the manufacturer’s logo on their website.

Level 2 - International acts, who would usually be featured by the company in adverts across trade publications.

Level 3 - Musical legends, who involve a high-level of investment on the part of the manufacturer.

What’s the difference between an endorsement and a sponsorship deal?

It’s important to understand the difference between a music endorsement deal and a sponsorship deal.

Endorsing a product means you are saying to your audience that you use that product exclusively. They hold a larger responsibility than sponsorships, and ultimately reflect you as an individual and what you hold important.

Sponsorships are when the brand itself is aligned with the artist. You might see a company’s logo on the artist’s posters, tour bus or on stage. These deals don’t hold as much weight, and you’re not wholly responsible for the brand’s reputation.

How do music endorsement deals work?

You need to ensure that the deal is clearly articulated between both parties. Endorsement deals see both the musician and the brand agreeing to specifics in exchange for performance. The artist has a responsibly to complete a list of tasks for the brand, otherwise known as “deliverables”.

In exchange for these duties, the artist will receive compensation through free goods, money or product discounts. This could differ between each brand you work with. Some contracts may include the artist performing a certain number of shows or appearances that you must complete during the term of the agreement. This could include product placement in a music video or photoshoot, or even whilst taking part in an interview.

How do I get a music endorsement deal?

Endorsement deals should be a mutual, win-win partnership between both parties. You need to demonstrate to the brand that you’re an appropriate investment. You can do this by proving you’re an established musician, showing you have a dedicated fan base and engaged audience that the company can target easily.

When you get involved in an endorsement deal, make sure you have a written agreement and a clear understanding of the work you’ll be undertaking for the brand. Agreeing to partake in a music endorsement deal means you can sell yourself as an artist and a business asset.

Am I eligible for a music endorsement deal?

There are no hard and fast rules about which artists can be considered for endorsement deals.

The only essential is that they must have some sort of visibility and convey a sense that they are going places. It also helps if their musical style complements the brand’s image.

If you are offered an endorsement deal featuring a written contract, before signing anything, use the MU Contract Advisory Service to get it checked out.