… Continued from Part 1 of 2

MM: So when you have these events where you’re bringing brands, artist and audiences together what are the biggest challenges?

BK: The biggest challenge is always convincing the brands to do anything. My model is kind of the Field of Dreams, “If you build it they will come” kind of thing.

If I can get these events off the ground, get a buzz built and content captured out of it, then it’s a hell of a lot easier for me to go to a brand and say, “this is more than just an idea I had. This is happening and here’s where we can plug in you as a partner.”

I think that’s a lot more palatable for both the artist and for the audience if it’s something that they already know and trust. The challenge is to get these (in advertising speak) ‘properties’ to a point where they’re sellable to brands.


MM: What are the brands looking for in an event or artist? What are they interested in?

Young Lions Music Club - Mojito Mastering, Toronto, CanadaBK: Brands are always interested in content of a great time. They want their name attached before, during, and after the experience. So I need to make sure if I’m doing a sponsored Songs party, that I have a photographer.

If I don’t have a photographer and the brand can’t watermark those images and they can’t use those images across their social media platforms then they’re not interested.


MM: So from the artist perspective if you’re a new band and want to get in to this type of sponsorship thing, do you have any advice?

BK: I’ve done panels for artist marketing and these sorts of workshops and inevitably, no matter what the topic is, the question comes up, “what advice would you give a young band?” Whether it’s shopping for a label or an agent or brand partnerships or whatever, the answer is always the same: be a good band. Just be a good band.

[pullquote style=”right” quote=”dark”]Whether it’s shopping for a label or an agent or brand partnerships or whatever, the answer is always the same: be a good band… Just be a good band.[/pullquote] Don’t try to talk to big brands until you’re a sellable entity. They want to use music to connect to their audience and if you don’t have an audience, or their audience isn’t interested in you, then you don’t have a leg to stand on.

I think music licensing is always a great way to build that relationship and there’s a list of music supervisors that should have your music. We keep a very small, curated roster because we want to make sure to not dilute the brand.

To be honest, pretty much any band that reaches out to me I almost always write them off just for having reached out. Put your focus on creating a buzz so that I’m reaching out to you. Otherwise if you’re sending me an email, spending all your time sending industry emails, then you’re probably not at a point where people are calling you.


MM: Do you think we’re shifting towards a more permanent industry that’s based off the relationship between brands and bands?

BK: There is an ever-changing race to figure out how to get paid as an artist. I think as a whole, not just with me working for brands in university, but as a whole, artists are going to take your money cause that’s how they’re going to get paid.

Ultimately no matter what industry you are in you need to know who your target audience is. Traditionally artists looked at their target audience to be not only music fans but also record labels. You were going to get paid by selling record and you were going to get paid by playing shows, so that was your audience. Now it’s not so much labels as it is car companies. So it’s just a natural evolution.

Bobby Kimberley, Young Lions Music Club - Mojito Mastering, Toronto, Canada

Bobby Kimberley YLMC. Photo credit: Michelle Cortese

Nobody wants to work for free. The people who have money are the people who are still selling products. Products aren’t going digital. Nobody is going to download a pair of shoes. When other revenue streams are dipping these are staying constant.

From a brand perspective, music hasn’t become any less cool. It hasn’t become any less of an obvious way for them to reach their demographic so they’re going to put money into it.


MM: Where do you see Young Lions Music Club in five years?

BK: Hopefully as the access point to the music loving community. And that is for anyone trying to connect with that audience; whether you’re an independent artist, a big artist, or a brand. Basically we’re trying to say, “You want to connect with these people? We have these people. They’re card carrying members.”

Ultimately at the end of the day we want to give back to this community in every way possible, whether it’s through making friends or getting free beer, or maybe finding you a job. I think that we don’t exist if we lose the support of the audience. And it’s fun to do that!


If you missed it, here’s part 1 of our Q&A with Bobby.

Young Lions Music Club has damn near perfected the art of throwing killer parties. Stay up to speed with their events here. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter