Why Some Artists Will Wear Certain T-Shirts at Coachella (Hint: $$$)

Auto racing wouldn’t exist if sponsors couldn’t put decals all over the cars.  Anyone who watches pro soccer knows that teams are financed through advertising on their jerseys. It’s the only way they can afford those huge salaries and transfer fees. And let’s not even get into the huge endorsement fees athletes can earn by using certain gear.

It’s a little trickier with musicians.  While we seem to finally be comfortable with artists licensing their music for things like commercials and soundtracks, we’re still skittish about other collisions between art and commerce.  But in the absence of traditional revenue streams like selling music, how can artists make up the income gap?

Maybe they need to take a page out of the English Premier League and start wearing advertising.  In fact, that already may be the case with this year’s Coachella Festival.

Billboard reports that some artists may be accepting up to $20,000 to wear branded t-shirts during their performance.  And it’s not just performers: it’s celebrities who will be attending the show.

My initial gut reaction was appallment. Then I thought about it a little more.  Why should musicians be denied the same money-making opportunities as athletes and actors? How is this different from a musician receiving an endorsement deal with a musical instrument company? Or having a tour underwritten by a brewery or Jagermeister?

Fill yer boots, I say.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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