As I've written of recently, there are solutions for many brand that lie outside of the major labels when it comes to music. The disruption at those major labels has given rise to start-up independent labels and DIY artists outside of the label system altogether. In Nashville there is a set of indie labels that have had much success as the majors have retrenched and cut back on the number of artists on their rosters.
Why does your brand need to pay attention here? Because these labels have each had runs of chart and sales success with artists and potentially don't have the high economic barriers to entry your brand might find in seeking to tie into major label artists.
For the record - I think corporate brands and country music fit extremely well together. Most people can relate to country music because the artists and songwriters deliver content about the lives the majority of us lead: we work hard for our goals, raise real families with real problems, and often need to look outward for guidance and redmption.
Let's take a look at one of these labels and see what brands have - and have not - done with artists on that label. Midas Records has a couple of artists, Emerson Drive and Whiskey Falls, one which has launched and achieved chart-topping success at Country radio and received numerous nominations from the Academy of Country Music, and the other whose album has yet to launch. Which artist do you think has gotten the love from corporate marketers? If you guessed the hit artist you'd be wrong.
Emerson Drive just had the #1 Country Single in the nation - during the CMA Fan Fest, the industry's biggest live event!!! So here is a band that has reached a milestone most acts would kill for. They have a solid album. This seems like a well-oiled machine a brand would want to leap into and take for a test drive, at the least. Not yet.
Whiskey Falls is about to launch their new album on Midas and has gotten love from TV and corporate brands. On the TV side, their song "I Can't Stop Loving You" garnered key placement in an episode of the NBC soap opera "Days of Our Lives." Meanwhile, they scored both a placement and an appearance in a new national TV spot for auto repair chain AAMCO.
Did you know about these bands? Emerson Drive has been around for a while. They started out on Dreamworks Nashville a few years back. This current album is their third release. The point is to keep seeking out acts whose music and image suits your brand's needs and not necessarily accept star power as the currency your brand needs to be dealing in.