Talking Points 2012 – Should Bands License Their Music To Brands?

Last week’s magazine featured several pages of music predictions for 2012, as we spoke to bands, industry insiders and NME staffers to get their take on the year ahead (grab a back issue here if you missed it). This week on NME.COM we’re looking at some of the issues that came up.

As record labels collapse and budgets shrink will more bands be forced into advertising and sponsorship deals, and is that a bad thing?

Frankie Francis, Frankie & The Heartstrings
“I don’t think it’s a bad thing to license your music to brands you like, but if it’s something that you wouldn’t use personally or tend to purchase then perhaps. If it wasn’t for letting ‘Hunger’ be used on that Domino’s advert, then six months ago we’d all have been back in our jobs. We wouldn’t have been able to play gigs, we’d all have been full time at work, we couldn’t have done the festivals or supported bands like The Vaccines for a full tour.

“The money has paid for our second album, allowing us to be in a practice space from 10am to 5pm. There’s a lot of unemployment in the north east, so we really don’t take it for granted.

“While Sunderland is hosting huge gigs at the moment, including Springsteen and Coldplay, and has a massive football stadium, the council shut down a community practise centre used by lots of new groups. We need to support the younger bands coming through.”

What do you think? Should bands use big brands and advertising as a useful second income, or should they be preserving their artistic integrity at all costs?

An edited version of this article appeared in the 31st December issue of NME magazine.