As "old media" advertising dollars continue to head south, we keep reading about new money chasing texting, social networking, podcasts, and the like. Radio reps are running out of people to take to lunch.
But amidst these declines, sponsorships for concerts and tours have grown 75% since '03, according to IEG, a company that keeps track of sponsor spending. Why? Because concerts offer a consumer experience, and not just a spot schedule. You get music fans out of their homes and offices enjoying a couple of brewskis at a fun event - a perfect venue (no pun intended) to make positive brand impressions.
And oftentimes, sponsors are going after the listeners that Rock stations are famous for aggregating - men with entertainment dollars to spend. Kia is now the lead advertiser of the Van's Warped Tour, while Sweet Leaf Tea gears the brunt of its ad budget toward sponsorships of festivals like Lollapalooza and Coachella. As their CEO, Clayton Christopher, notes, "That's our marketing strategy, to introduce people to our brand at a place where they are having a good time."
For Rock stations - from Alternative to Classic Rock - the concert vibe has always been a major part of the musical experience. And whether it's shows like KROQ is famous for, the many EdgeFest type all-day extravaganzas, or Classic-based shows like KSAN's "Bone Bash," stations have the ability to provide advertisers with a unique, grassroots marketing vehicle. This is also the case for local showcases, like MMR's "Local Shots Live," or WCSX's "Rockin' On The Riverfront" series here in Detroit.
The marriage of radio and Rock concerts has never been better (despite the RIAA's insipid claims that radio airplay and support don't contribute much to music sales or artist brand development). As has always been the case, radio can help put butts in seats, while also serve as a great vehicle for advertisers looking for alternative ways to build their brands. Rock on.