What Does Artist Relations Look For in Endorsers?
"The one thing to remember is that you're not working with a band that you like because they are your favorite band," said Cory Lorentz. "You have to think about what is going to help sell Shure products. At the end of the day, that is what we are all here to do."
Artist Relations is fun and we love all of our Shure endorsers, but at the end of the day, this is a business. While we may love our best friend's cousin's garage band, "There is a baseline requirement that the artists we sign be touring nationally and internationally," Rich Sandrok said.
While it may be tempting to want to sign their favorite band or artist as an endorser, that's not the way this business runs. The Artist Relations department takes several things into consideration when choosing a potential endorser. "I would say the main thing I look at first is uniqueness. I'm not looking for a copy of another famous group," Ryan Smith said, "Next, we are looking for popularity and social media presence." It's hard to quantify an artist's fan base or influence, so looking at the numbers AR can see such as Facebook likes, Twitter followers, YouTube views, etc. are the numbers they have to consider when discussing an artist's impact. "Cooperation is a bonus. You can get a good sense of whether or not someone will get you what you need in a timely fashion or not," Smith said. Shure AR wants to choose artists that are going to represent the company well.
Artist Relations isn't looking for endorsers who say, "What can you give us for free?" Lorentz said. Shure wants artists who believe in our products and are loyal to the company. We want endorsers who are as excited about our products as we are.
"I always look at it from a marketing standpoint," Lorentz said, "At the end of the day, this band or artist has to help us sell microphones and attract attention to the latest Shure products." It's clear the main goal for Artist Relations is to find bands that are growing in popularity and are going to help sell the products we create. Is this band going to get the attention of a younger aspiring musician? Are they going to attract the attention of other trending bands looking to enhance their sound on stage? These are just a couple of the questions Lorentz asks himself when looking at a potential endorser.
I would be remiss if I didn't say that the sound of the artist plays a role. The Artist Relations department is constantly looking for new, exciting, and fresh takes on sound. If an artist is catchy and has a growing social media presence, they are definitely on AR's radar at Shure.
One factor that is the icing on the cake for the AR team when it comes to endorsers is if they are a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) artist. "These are the artists that are recording themselves on the road or in the studio and sometimes, they're even handling monitor duties on stage. They're gear-geeks. They are constantly thinking of ways to enhance the performance and sound. We encourage that and love helping them," Lorentz said, "We learn a lot from them about the product and what it does or does not do for them, it's great research!" When we say research, what we're saying is that sometimes these bands, the people who are using the equipment daily, come up with new ideas, new uses for mics, discover places for improvement, etc. It's nice to have endorsers that are really familiar with the gear because this provides great feedback for us and also serves as a human advertisement because if these artists really enjoy our gear and can discuss it with other artists and engineers, it's certainly a bonus.
For Nelson Arreguin, there are three main things to look at: Are they legendary artists? Are they up-and-coming artists? Are they influencers? "Up-and-coming artists are the bands getting a lot of buzz and people are following, they're the next big indie band," Arreguin said, "One artist can be two of these things at once, they can be legendary and influencers or up-and-coming and influencers." What he means by influencers is an artist or band that is impacting Generation Y. Influencers are artists that kids look up to, that these small "garage bands" are looking at and asking what mic they're on because they want that sound. Influencers are bands that are influencing other musicians. "We want the bands that other musicians respect and are looking to, to find out what equipment they're using," Sandrok said.
Legendary artists are good to have for obvious reasons, everyone knows them. They are identifiable artists that can represent our brand. Up-and-coming artists, however, are good for building relationships. "These are the artists that are working directly with their sound and have a vested interest in it," Arreguin said. Artist relations is all about building relationships with these bands. We believe in their music and what they are doing. "I want the bands that are going to inspire younger musicians, the ones that are going to change lives," Arreguin said. Sandrok looks for artists he admires. "I want bands that I can respect as a musician, the bands that other bands are talking about," Sandrok said.
To wrap it up, the key things that Shure Artist Relations looks for is a good sound, cooperative nature, social media presence, a following, and influencers.