Whether you like it or not, corporate sponsorships of musicians and concerts continue to become more common. And it’s not just Top-40 artists involved, either. Just recently, Citibank had a deal with Guns N’ Roses for Citi Card members to purchase a backstage experience with the band.
“Four hours before Guns ‘N Roses were set to hit the stage at Dodger Stadium in Los Angles Thursday night, a stagehand pulled off a tarp from the drum riser, revealing the iconic GN’R logo on the bass drum in the middle of the massive stage and an even more enormous corporate-credit-card logo on the screen behind the drums”.
The package cost about the same as a typical high-end ticket and included not just a chance for an on-stage photo op, but also a Q&A session with GN’R’s longtime production designer Dale Skjerseth. He “patiently answered questions ranging from how the band’s getting along to how much the stage weighed”. Also included was a limited-edition print and interview with music photographer and Wireimage founder Kevin Mazu, a lounge with free drinks, food, and premium seats for the show.
VIP experiences are nothing new, of course. The upcoming Billboard Touring Conference even has a panel that explores the phenomenon, “which includes everything from meet-and-greets to cruises with bands to corporate-held blocks of premium seats”.
Corporate sponsorships might seem very “un-rock ‘n roll” to a lot of fans, but those who purchase the VIP experiences don’t seem to mind. “Certainly the two-dozen or so people that huddled around drummer Frank Ferrer’s kit and took selfie after selfie didn’t care — the once-dangerous band, like just about any other major touring act this decade, clearly needs corporate money to offset tour costs “.
When looking at expenses, such as how much large tours cost, and how little musicians are making from recorded music anymore, it does make sense to use corporate sponsorships. You might not like it, but it’s what makes sense financially for a lot of musicians.