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Keyboard companies and endorsements?


scottasin

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Is it just me, or does it seem like keyboard companies do less along the lines of endorsements/sponsorships than other instrument types? I know tons of drummers who are endorsed by a cymbal company, guitarists and bassists getting half off on their amps instruments and pedals from boutique companies, but I rarely hear of keyboard players getting endorsed (aside from our own Jim Alfredson of course)...

 

I ask because my band has finally gotten a good multi-cam professional quality live video done, and I feel like I could at least try to pursue some sort of endorsement... Our guitar player is getting 50% off from Reverend Guitars (which are amazing) and I'm sure our bass player will be soon to follow. Our drummer is gonna start searching for a cymbal endorsement, and I have very little doubt he'll be able to swing at least some sort of deal. I feel like in the world of keyboards I'd find more luck in the smaller synth companies, as I'm using an early 90s digital synth in the video with the rest of my gear being relatively up to date, and I could very well express my 'frustration' with the instrument and how much people flip out at our shows over synthesizers... Also, perhaps an amp or pedal company for use with my Rhodes. I feel like the more 'bread and butter sounds' type keyboards are those bigger companies that don't offer endorsements (at least to bands at our level).

 

Anyone know of keyboard or accessory companies that offer endorsements? Have any of you worked on some sort of endorsement deal? How did it go?

 

(also, we'll be posting the video on youtube in the next week or so, I'm really proud of how it came out, and I'll be sure to post it up on here when we put it out publicly)

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At our level - at least in the UK - there is very little endorsement about. The most I heard of was a guitar player who managed to negotiate 25% off strings from a local music store.

 

Most of the cash seems to go to nationally known names.

 

 

SSM

Occasionally, do something nice for a total stranger. They'll wonder what the hell is going on!
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I don't think that 50% discounts are likely even with endorsements. Kurzweil does have some artists on their web site that have an endorsement relationship. Most of the keyboard companies DO have an artist program. I'd suggest contacting each company through their sales and promotions department and asking about the requirements and benefits.

 

If in an area that has local dealers that actually stock and promote pro level keyboards; also check with the store managers of those stores. At the least, they could ask their rep and might get the ball rolling.

 

Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's

HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Jim

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Certainly the big guys always got keyboard company endorsements...

 

Keith Emerson > Moog

Joe Zawinul > Korg

Stevie Wonder > Yamaha

Vince Clarke > Roland

 

and then, of course, there's always...

 

Jordan Rudess > every keyboard company that ever existed :hand:

 

 

Kurzweil PC3, Yamaha MOX8, Alesis Ion, Kawai K3M
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Certainly the big guys always got keyboard company endorsements...

 

Keith Emerson > Moog

Joe Zawinul > Korg

Stevie Wonder > Yamaha

Vince Clarke > Roland

 

and then, of course, there's always...

 

Jordan Rudess > every keyboard company that ever existed :hand:

 

 

Don't forget Joey D -> every organ company that ever existed

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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Certainly the big guys always got keyboard company endorsements...

 

Keith Emerson > Moog

Joe Zawinul > Korg

Stevie Wonder > Yamaha

Vince Clarke > Roland

 

and then, of course, there's always...

 

Jordan Rudess > every keyboard company that ever existed :hand:

 

 

Keith Emerson did much more endorsement with Korg (since the early '80's).

[video:youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BFjXHmFjXc

 

He certainly played and had a strong bond with the Moogs. But I don't recall seeing him do endorsement ads etc. for them.

 

Jerry

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I will say that the world of guitarists/bassists and especially drummers, endorsements really helped to sell instruments.

 

Clinics with big names draw large crowds.

 

Keyboards? Not so much...

 

So companies will develop associations with big name artists, but they don't pay $$ giveaway a lot of gear. Once you move down to us regular folks (I'm not speaking about my career in the biz) there are no free goods. Many companies don't even offer direct purchase pricing, since it "interferes" with the dealer channel, who are there to sell you your goods. So each company is different, you have to reach out to them to see what their policy is.

 

Good luck!

 

Jerry

 

 

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Certainly the big guys always got keyboard company endorsements...

 

Keith Emerson > Moog

Joe Zawinul > Korg

Stevie Wonder > Yamaha

Vince Clarke > Roland

 

and then, of course, there's always...

 

Jordan Rudess > every keyboard company that ever existed :hand:

 

 

Don't forget Joey D -> every organ company that ever existed

 

Our own Derek Sherinian should be able to give a few pointers.

 

The rule of thumb is you need to be of enough stature (even locally) that you provide the intended benefactor with some free visual representation (onstage at the very least). Have a web presence (for yourself AND your band), have an audience (preferably with keyboard players in it), and don't obscure the logo.

Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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And no, you're not getting it for free, not getting it for 50% off list; you'll be able to procure wholesale pricing, maybe a little better, but more importantly (in my mind) is that you will have the company standing behind you without a middle man, which will be great when you run into technical issues or defect.
Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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Guitar players stand in front of the stage and make weird faces when they play. They thrash around and whip their hair to and fro (if they have any left). Drummers are also physical with their playing, bang bang bang it's exciting! We keyboardists are the nerds of the group, tethered behind our 'boards. You usually can't even see our hands moving from the audience. It's more cerebral and doesn't spur Billy to bug his mom to bring him to the music store to buy a keyboard. Billy wants to bang on a drum or shred on a guitar!
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As someone who worked for a small company (Kurzweil) my advice would be: look to the bigger companies.

 

Roland and Yamaha support a lot of artists, including many who are not megastars. Not sure what this level of support is though, but they have vastly larger budgets for marketing than a small company.

 

Kurz has and still does support artists, either with good pricing, great pricing or the occasional gear-for-services exchange (trade show gig, videos, etc). But they can only do this for a relatively small number of musicians.

 

Consider crowd-funding for specific things like albums and big live events perhaps?

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It always seemed to me that until you were successful enough to pay cash for whatever you wanted, no one would give you anything for free :laugh:

 

Lol! That sounds very familiar. Here in Sweden, Yamaha are very active in reaching out to musicians that have reached a certain level of visibility. Roland work with a few choice players, and the rest seem rather inactive. Like stated earlier, bass, drums and guitars is a whole other world.

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In Hungary Roland has a strong presence because Roland East Europe is based here. Therefore many keyboard players are to some extent endorsed by Roland, which usually means covering other brands' boards somehow (a Korg logo with tape, or a whole Yamaha CP80 with a blanket in one case :) )

 

Casio also endorses some great jazz pianists.

Life is subtractive.
Genres: Jazz, funk, pop, Christian worship, BebHop
Wishlist: 80s-ish (synth)pop, symph pop, prog rock, fusion, musical theatre
Gear: NS2 + JUNO-G. SP6 at church.

 

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He certainly played and had a strong bond with the Moogs. But I don't recall seeing him do endorsement ads etc. for them.

 

Jerry

 

Emerson made it clear at Moogfest during the unveiling of the new modular that he paid full price for his original synth, even though he tried to work a deal.

9 Moog things, 3 Roland things, 2 Hammond things and a computer with stuff on it

 

 

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It's probably because here isn't a market for signature keyboards in the same way as there is for signature guitars, and as such, keyboard manufacturers are more careful about who they choose to endorse. Custom shop keyboards would be difficult to engineer, and simply marketing artist sound packs would leaves you open to piracy.

 

Having said that, knowing a member of the Kurzweil Artist Lounge did influence my decision to get one, so it's not a lost cause.

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Emerson made it clear at Moogfest during the unveiling of the new modular that he paid full price for his original synth, even though he tried to work a deal.

 

On the other hand he later used a Polymoog/Apollo/Constellation prototype even though that version was never commercially sold AFAIK.

Life is subtractive.
Genres: Jazz, funk, pop, Christian worship, BebHop
Wishlist: 80s-ish (synth)pop, symph pop, prog rock, fusion, musical theatre
Gear: NS2 + JUNO-G. SP6 at church.

 

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Certainly the big guys always got keyboard company endorsements...

 

Keith Emerson > Moog

Joe Zawinul > Korg

Stevie Wonder > Yamaha

Vince Clarke > Roland

 

and then, of course, there's always...

 

Jordan Rudess > every keyboard company that ever existed :hand:

 

 

Don't forget Joey D -> every organ company that ever existed

 

Our own Derek Sherinian should be able to give a few pointers.

 

The rule of thumb is you need to be of enough stature (even locally) that you provide the intended benefactor with some free visual representation (onstage at the very least). Have a web presence (for yourself AND your band), have an audience (preferably with keyboard players in it), and don't obscure the logo.

 

Derek recently (in the last 5 years) spent thousands of dollars on Vintage gear, no help from endorsements when you do that. :)

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possibly just semantics, but I was struck previously by the notion on this forum that an endorsement deal would indicate an endorsement of the musician by the brand/manufacturer. Have to admit I could care less who they endorse... I just care who sounds good to me and possibly what kind of gear they are using to achieve their sounds...

 

Coming from professional sports, my experience was that an endorsement deal meant that the professional was endorsing the brand and that that endorsement was worth something because the professional had the clout and credibility to get joe shmoe on the street to spend money on bespoke brand...

 

if you look at it that way, it may give you a little more guidance on how, why or whether any brand/manufacturer might think they would benefit if you endorsed their product... how can you add value and help them sell more product? quid pro quo...

 

 

gig: hammond sk-1 73, neo vent, nord stage 2 76, ancona 34 accordion, cps space station v3

home: steinway m, 1950 hammond c2

 

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He certainly played and had a strong bond with the Moogs. But I don't recall seeing him do endorsement ads etc. for them.

 

Jerry

 

Emerson made it clear at Moogfest during the unveiling of the new modular that he paid full price for his original synth, even though he tried to work a deal.

 

True that. And he bought his first Hammond (L-100) on a payment plan, with the support and encouragement of his father. And bought his first C3. No deals/support. That came later.

 

Jerry

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I've had a little experience regarding endorsements from the manufacturer side, and here are a few observations and things to consider:

 

1. Very few (if any) keyboard players decide what gear to buy solely on an artist's endorsement. I've never met anyone who bought something only because, say, John Medeski uses one. If they do, it's because Medeski is getting something out of that gear that they also want to get out of it. Pro keyboard players choose what's best for them based on their needs and preferences, not on celebrity testimony.

 

2. Guitar, bass, and drum endorsements have a huge image factor associated with them. The teenage metal guitarist wants a pointy guitar with lightning bolts on it because he's satisfying a Dimebag Darrell fantasy. The drummer that's in a Rush cover band wants Neil Peart's signature cymbals. Keyboard players just don't think that way.

 

3. If a piece of gear exists that's truly your "voice" as a musician, you should not only buy one, but be willing to pay MSRP for it. You should thank your lucky stars a bunch of engineers and programmers got the money to make something that's uniquely suited to your craft. So why should they give you one?

 

Black & Decker doesn't give contractors power tools because they build a lot of houses. Maytag doesn't give away specialty kitchen appliances to popular restaurants. Why should a musician be any different? I'm certainly not discouraging the pursuit of endorsements; simply pointing out that there's a very different perspective in play.

 

4. With technology manufacturers, you're lucky to be able to buy something wholesale. This gear is expensive to make, and there are tons of costs in R&D before the first unit is put together. It's very rare for a keyboard company to just give expensive hardware away. When that does happen, it's usually because the artist supplies something of value to the manufacturer; say, a bank of custom sounds/programs that can translate into a handful more sales.

 

5. A lot of artists ask a manufacturer if they'll endorse them. That's not how it works -- the artist endorses the product, not the other way around. The way the relationship works is the artist has enough influence with buyers that his/her likeness and testimony can be monetized. It's a semantic thing, but it always drove me nuts when a band would call and ask for our endorsement.

 

6. Just being signed and visible isn't enough. There are tons of signed acts, tons of bands on TV, and on national festival stages. If you're not the front man, or your group doesn't have a huge hit that's piano/keyboard-based, or you're "just" the keyboard player, then you're not big and important enough for a company to sling free gear your way just because people see it on your stage. Again, unless you're providing something of material value to the company, there's no reason they should give you anything.

 

7. Also, if you're going on tour next week don't call the artist relations guy at Keyboard Inc. If there's a mutually-beneficial relationship to be had between you and a company, you need to be working on it months in advance, and be a valuable resource for them when you're not on tour or in studio. If you can't be, then keep eating PB&Js until you've saved enough money to buy the gear you want.

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I look upon MSRP as the seller's starting point, and expect to start bargaining from there.

 

 

SSM

 

SSM,

 

Here in the states MSRP has been largely replaced by MAP (minimum advertised price). This has effectively leveled the playing field for any business selling and advertising on the web.

 

Obviously, there are deals to be had when sellers are motivated that can result in purchase prices that are lower than MAP.

 

It's interesting to me that many of the web retailers offer posted discounts (15% is often available) during holidays. These can make it easy to get a swinging deal.

 

Greg

Kurzweil Forte, Yamaha Motif ES7, Muse Receptor 2 Pro Max, Neo Ventilator
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And no, you're not getting it for free, not getting it for 50% off list; you'll be able to procure wholesale pricing, maybe a little better

To be clear: I believe wholesale typically refers to the price a dealer pays for a product. That being the case, there isn't a keyboard manufacturer that I know of that sells to a dealer for less than 50%. It's actually usually more....so getting something for "wholesale pricing, maybe a bit better" will probably not get you to 50% off.

 

Re: MAP - some companies set their MAP pricing at 10% off MSRP...but there are a few that set it a bunch lower than that, so it leaves dealers an extremely small margin. The average end users don't know that - they believe MAP is where you start bargaining - so at this point there's really very little $ to be made at the dealer level.

 

Re: endorsements in general - I've worked with (and even run) a few MI and Pro Audio companies, and I'm not a big fan. I've always thought it was a much more powerful message to be able to tell people that big names actually bought their gear. :cool:

 

dB

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