Producing high-quality, shareable content is the way to get noticed these days, and it doesn't have to be that hard. There are tons of musicians and artists out there with huge followings, and the inability of the record industry to deal with this in the internet era means that these artists are looking for other options.
Corporate sponsorship is one of those options, and a great example of this is Nike Sportswear's Pitch Perfect series of albums:
With full-on football (aka soccer) mania about to consume the minds and hearts of billions around the globe, The FADER wanted to express what the sport means to us. Faced with that seemingly daunting task, we decided to focus on what we know—music, art and culture—and view the game through the creative endeavors inspired by it. To that end, The FADER has joined with Nike Sportswear to present our collaborative project, Pitch Perfect.
Starting on June 1, 2010, and stretching over the next several weeks, we will give you new music from all over the world via continental mixtapes made by top selectors, limited edition screen-printed posters inspired by football’s global reach, and, best of all, a special documentary series filmed in South Africa by The FADER crew as football fans deluge the country. While we’re there, Nike Sportswear and The FADER will present a live music event on June 16 at Nike’s brand new Football Training Center in Soweto, featuring artists from all over Africa, that will also be streamed live on nikesportswear.com and thefader.com/pitchperfect so that all those who couldn’t make it to South Africa can feel like they did.
I've argued before that this kind of promotion is a win-win-win: fans get to listen to the music they like; the artists get paid for their work and gain new fans; and the brand is able to connect with their audience in a meaningful way.
Scion (the car company) has done something similar, and so has the Cartoon Network with their ATL-RMX album (probably the best mix of southern hip-hop and electronic music you're likely to find outside of The Hood Internet).
...And as I was wrapping up this post, I realized that Starbucks has teamed up with iTunes for a similar deal. From Frappucino.com/iTunes:
"Starbucks has created a free music mix to complement your Frappuccino® beverage. Featuring electrifying summertime favorites ranging from Frightened Rabbit to Hot Chip, your free Frappuccino® Beverage Music Mix is available to download on iTunes now!"
How do you feel about this model for sponsoring musicians? Do you like it when your artists team up with brands you may or may not like?