SFS Spreads Good Word on Music-Branding

If Career Doesn't Work Out, SFS Blogger Prepared for Life As Carnival Barker

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Mike Tunnicliffe (second from l.) and fellow panelists at MUSEXPO Europe.
The good looking half of SFS has been busy trotting the globe this fall as a speaker and panelist at a number of music industry events. After a quick warm-up gig at The Swedish Music conference during the CMJ Music Marathon two weeks ago -- with other panelists like Josh Rabinowitz, head of music at Grey, Calle Sjoenell, creative director at BBH and Ed Razzano from global licensing platform Ricall -- the tour swept into London last week for the inaugural MUSEXPO Europe. Yours truly co-moderated a panel called "One step beyond: extending the brand," which explored the growing influence of brands on the breaking of and continued success for new and established artists.

The panelists, which included Martin Morales, head of Disney's recorded music assets for Europe; leading showbiz attorney Doug Mark; Richard Kirstein from BBH's Leap Music in London; and Alicen Schneider and Marianne Goode, music supremos for NBC and Lifetime Television, respectively. We engaged in a lively debate about around a number of key topics, including whether brands would increasingly be looking to take an equity stake in the artists that they break/support -- as we've seen this year with P&G's Tag Records, JV with Def Jam and Bacardi's "signing" of top British dance act Groove Armada.

The overwhelming view from the panel was that "nothing's impossible," and that any number of previously un-thought-of arrangements between brands and artists would arrive over the coming year. Brands are increasingly looking to own some of the intellectual property that they help create, said Richard Kirstein, CEO of Leap Music: "It's no longer taboo from either the artists or brands perspective to want to be in some sort of partnership together; each can help the other out."

Anyhow, the SFS rock n' roll tour hits Los Angeles next week for NARIP's (National Association of Recording Industry Professionals) "Bands Brands & Beyond Expo," where I'll be delivering a keynote titled "Evolving Deals In Licensing & Branding: A Behind-the-Scenes Look" as well as mixing it up with the likes of Umut Özaydinli, global music marketing manager, Coca-Cola, Martin Pazzani, CEO-in-residence, Bluestone Partners, Jared Rosenbergand, Janet Jackson's co-manager, and a stack of others leading figures in the brand-music space. Hope to see some of you there!

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Mike Tunnicliffe owns Tuna Music LLC, a New York- and London-based management company. Find out more at miketunnicliffe.com.
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