Recording music and selling it is one way to make revenue as an artist, but how do you generate income outside of that? Veteran industry executive Kevin Liles explains just that in the fifth installment of P&P Pro Tips, where insiders, artists and producers offer advice on how to navigate the uncertain waters of the music business.
Liles, who currently serves as CEO of 300 Entertainment and has held top executive posts at Def Jam, Island Def Jam, and Warner Music Group, points to two outlets for monetization: licensing and brand partnerships. “We can spend some time talking about licensing. I had a young lady named Meg Mac from Australia and there was a TV show called Girls and her sales went up 42 percent after her record was played,” he says, referring to the 300 signee.
James Blunt, another musician that came to rise under his purview at Warner, got a huge boost after Hilton used his hit “You’re Beautiful” in a commercial. “The whole world started singing ‘You’re Beautiful,’” he recalls. “I hope Hilton got more hotel rooms sold and more recognition out of it, but I think it was a great partnership. To me, there are a lot of artists that break through licensing their music in TV shows to actual car advertisements. I love it. It’s part of the ecosystem and the business model that an artist can get set up from that.”
But beyond that, brand partnerships can be especially lucrative for artists. At first, Liles explains, brands didn’t want anything to do with hip-hop up—until Adidas made a groundbreaking $1.6 million deal with Run D.M.C. after the group released its single “My Adidas” in 1986. “When you talk about brand partnerships, I’ve got to seen it from when they said they didn’t want us involved to now,” he says. “To me, it’s about making sure the brand affinity is there when you make that kind of partnership. I don’t believe everything has to be for free. I believe you have to have the right business model and sometimes you have to give a little to gain a lot. But there’s a success in the process of monetization because you should value your art.”
Watch the fifth installment of P&P Pro Tips below.