Artist Promotion

What is a Music Endorsement Deal? | How do Endorsement Deals Work? 

Posted on

A music endorsement a fantastic way for artists to make extra money, especially those that are starting out. However, there’s a lot to learn about endorsement deals and how they work. If you get it right, you could be reaping the rewards. 

How do musicians get endorsement deals?

How do musicians get endorsements? Getting involved in music endorsement deals is a huge undertaking so the most important thing is to make sure you get a written agreement and you understand everything involved and how the process works and why it’s different to music sponsorship deals. You can sell yourself as an artist and a business asset. 

Endorsement deals between musicians and companies should be a win-win partnership. You need to demonstrate that you’re a viable commercial investment for any organisationThe best chances for such a deal will come when you’re an established musician with a fan base aligned to the company’s target audience 

What is a music endorsement deal?

Put simply, music endorsements are when an artist is directly affixing their name to a certain company or product. It’s quite different to music sponsorship deals. It means the artist is endorsing and approving that product and confirming to the audience that they use it exclusively. This means that the company or product benefits from the exposure that an artist is giving it and the artist then benefits in payment. The bigger the value of the deal, the more money you as an artist will receive. 

Some major brands have entered into multi-million dollar endorsement deals with artists such as Beyonce, who has a $50 million deal with Pepsi. 

But it’s not as simple as it sounds and there are a lot of potential loopholes and issues that could arise. So if it’s something you are considering, spend some time doing your research to make sure that you have got a good deal. 

By endorsing this product, your fans are putting faith in you that this product is as good as it is and is worth spending money on. So, it’s important that artists protect the interests of their brand and that they team up with companies and products whose values, ideals and perceptions are not detrimental to their own. It’s important for it to be a good match. 

What is the difference between an endorsement and a sponsorship deal? 

Endorsements and sponsorships differ and it’s key that you understand the difference. Endorsing a product means you are saying to your audience “I use this and I use it exclusively”. It means that they dictate a greater responsibility than sponsorships.  

Sponsorships work differently. It means that the brand is aligned with the artist in a broader sense. So you might see a company’s logo on a poster, or on the tour bus, or on the stage. The sponsorship deals are worth less because the artist is not endorsing the product and claiming that they use it and they do not hold that same responsibility for the firm’s reputation. 

Top musician endorsements and sponsorship deals

What is the difference between an endorsement and a sponsorship deal? 

#1 Instrument and equipment brands

A great example is Ed Sheeran’s partnership with Lowden guitars. Together with the brand, Ed created his own Sheeran acoustic guitars, offering aspiring guitarists, “a unique design played by Ed Sheeran himself on the road, at home and at his huge live shows.”

Companies that endorse or sponsor musicians: 

  • Lowden guitars 
  • Gibson guitars 
  • Yamaha 
  • Cassidy Guitars 
  • Noseminster LLC 

#2 Clothing and fashion brands

Beyonce, who has her own fashion brand Ivy Park, recently collaborated with Adidas. The deal will include footwear, apparel, and the relaunch of Beyoncé’s Ivy Park brand.  She called the collaboration, “The Partnership of a lifetime for me.”

Another example is Rihanna’s collaboration with Puma, Fenty X Puma.

Companies that endorse or sponsor musicians: 

  • Yves Saint Laurent
  • Nike 
  • Adidas 
  • Dirtbag Clothing
  • Puma 

#3 Food and drink brands

Justin Timberlake inked deals with Pepsi and McDonald’s, the latter of which he created a jingle as part of a multi-tiered sponsorship deal.

Maroon 5 have also endorsed Coca-Cola and Snapple, and Jessie J reps for Pop-Tarts and Cadbury’s.

Companies that endorse or sponsor musicians: 

  • Pepsi
  • Coca Cola
  • Red Bull
  • McDonald’s
  • Wrigley’s
  • Nabisco

How do I approach a sponsorship or an endorsement deal? 

Becoming involved with firms or corporations is not something you should take on lightly. It’s important that you take your time to understand how the process works. It should certainly not be seen as an easy way to make extra money because the process involved is far from simple.  

Going into a deal such as this is a business arrangement which will give a commercial return to the company involved and will benefit the artist financially too. Artists will have to prove that they are a valuable commercial partner that will deliver results.  

You also need to consider whether you have a sponsorship policy as if not, you will need to create one. It will outline the objectives and the administrative processes involved as well as accountability and responsibility. You’ll also need a marketing and promotions plan to ensure you get the best coverage and therefore have the best chance of making the deal a success. 

How endorsement deals work

The most important part of this process is ensuring that you have a written agreement which clearly articulates all the points of the deal. In most cases, brand sponsorship or endorsement deals are very similar and sees both the musician and brand agreeing to certain factors in exchange for the other party’s performance. This means that the artist has the responsibility of completing a list of duties which are recognised as “deliverables”. In exchange for the artist carrying out these duties, the artist will be entitled to compensation through a different manner of forms. That could be free goods, money or product discounts. What an artist receives could totally differ from one deal to the next. 

The contract may include a certain number of shows, performances or appearances that you as an artist must do on behalf of the company during the term of the agreement. It could include product placement in a music video or photoshoot or while taking part in an interview or during a live performance. 

What do I have to do as part of the music endorsement deal? 

It could also require you to include the company or brand’s logo on your website or social media platforms, or require you to do paid sponsorship adverts on your social media. 

All of this just goes to show how important the written agreement is. You wouldn’t want to find a couple of months down the line that you were being forced into doing something you weren’t aware of. Make sure you have read the contract and understand exactly what you are being asked to do.  

Expenses are another issue. Make sure it’s clear who is responsible for paying for different items so that you don’t get caught short. If you’re involved in a big brand promotional campaign, it’s important you know and are clear who is paying for the relevant content. It’s all important information that needs to be in writing.  

What’s the best way to attract attention from potential sponsors? 

It can be hard to push yourself to the top of the list but a good way to do this is to create what’s called a One Sheet. If you don’t know what this is, it’s basically a summary of who you are as an artist, what your assets are and why you are worth considering for sponsorship or endorsements. It’s important that it’s a one-page document – if it’s too long it won’t attract the attention that you crave.

It should contain a short bio, member information, your genre of music and bands or artists you would compare yourself to, and links to your music, website and all your social media channels. 

It’s easy to create using either Word or Google Documents. Don’t go overboard by trying to make it too snazzy – the aim is to give a bite-size piece of information about who you are and what you do to give companies and brands a sense of who you are in a short space of time. 


Another good pointer is to make sure you’re networking. It’s one of the most valuable things you can do, especially when you’re competing in something as tough as the music industry. 

Look at the endless chances to network in the music world. You can go to local music festivals, different events and shows – anything that involves live music where you are likely to meet the best in the industry.

Also, make sure you make the most of your social media by joining different groups and using it as a way to make connections online. Follow similar bands and artists to you as that’s a great way to discover their contacts and hopefully pass on your details if you hit it off. Make sure you use your hashtags when you post anything to maximise your chances connecting with different people. 

What will the company gain from the deal?  

It’s a fair question to ask: what’s in it for them? Well, the firm involved will benefit from a great deal. They will be associated with your image and your core values as an artist. They will also no doubt gain access to your target audience which could open doors for the firm if their core audience is often a different demographic. 

Therefore, it’s important that you as an artist understand fully and can explain what you can offer and how you will benefit the company or product. How will your image benefit the firm? How will your fans become involved with the product? Why will they take an interest and in what way?

Make sure you sit down and think about this fully so that you can sell yourself as a potentially successful asset that will bring in the cash and help increase revenue for the firm. 

Next, you need to have a good think about what sort of sponsorship or music endorsement deal you want. Is it for a particular set of shows or a tour you are promoting? Do you want more than one sponsor or are you planning to stick with the same brand for your entire tour? 

What is your sponsorship worth? 

This can be one of the most difficult steps in the process as you need to pin down how much it will cost you first. For example, any advertising will cost money. So if you plan to put posters up, you will be responsible for the cost of the poster whereas the company sponsoring you will be paying for the signage rights, not the cost of the posters. 

Then you need to look at the market price to make sure you are getting a fair rate given the value of the marketplace at that time. Then look at the benefits the company will get from sponsoring you – how much would it cost them to reach your audience through their own advertising streams? This makes sure you know how much the deal is worth. 

How do you know you’re ready for sponsorship? 

There are a few things that you need to think about first to ensure that you are ready for a sponsorship or an endorsement, otherwise you could end up feeling disappointed. In order to be ready for this stage in your career you need to ensure you are making money, touring, have a high social media engagement and have lots of email subscribers.

It will also help if you have a high number of views for your YouTube videos. All of these will help show any potential sponsors that you are worth working with and are a valuable artist that can help to make them money. 

Ready to get into the world of endorsement and sponsorship? 

Ultimately, when you get to the stage where you are ready to sell yourself as an artist, do it well. Have your pitch ready and make sure you’re armed with a list of contacts to promote yourself. If you’ve made it this far, you know you are worth it as an artist.

Personalise your emails so the person reading it is more likely to relate to you and to want to reply. If you don’t hear anything, don’t be afraid to follow it up with another email a couple of weeks later. Who knows where it may lead?  

Have you got any experience with sponsorships or endorsements? If so, share your comments and suggestions below.