EDM or “electronic dance music” is rapidly becoming a force on the festival scene and as might be expected, where the audience goes, so too goes the money. EDM has always been looked at as being on the fringe for most brands, but as its popularity skyrockets, Madison Avenue is taking notice.
One of the biggest, if not THE biggest purveyors of electronic dance music festivals is SFX Entertainment. SFX was created by the legendary entertainment magnate Robert F.X. Sillerman. Just this week, SFX announced that it had inked a major sponsorship partnership deal for its EDM festivals with Anheuser-Busch InBev.
We’re not talking pocket change either. It’s been estimated that Anheuser-Busch’s sponsorship could be worth as much as $25 million next year and $35 million in 2015! That’s serious money being spent to reach the EDM audience. Obviously the fringe has become mainstream.
Among SFX’s EDM festivals are Tomorrowland in Europe and TomorrowWorld and Electric Zoo in the United States. 180,000 EDM enthusiasts attended the Tomorrowland event while over 120,000 people flock to the U.S. version, TomorrowWorld, which featured over 300 DJ’s on 8 stages. The Electric Zoo event in New York City drew over 100,000 people.
What’s interesting is that the sponsors don’t seem to mind the obvious risk of partnering with EDM events. The last Electric Zoo event saw the third and final day of the festival canceled after two concert-goers died and at least four others were hospitalized due to drug-related causes.
Not to be outdone by SFX, Live Nation Entertainment, the world’s largest concert promoter, announced last month that they had secured a big deal with with Motorola. As part of that deal, Live Nation’s dance festivals will include a six-story LED tower from Motorola and the Moto X Kandi Shop, where revelers can design their own bracelets.
As EDM popularity is soaring, Motorola recognized an opportunity and sought out Live Nation to develop a program to innovatively engage the millennials who are flocking to these sold-out festivals.
The deal is being lauded as “the most genius corporate sponsorship concept of all time.”
These recent deals may signal the acceptance of EDM by marketing executives of major brands. I would expect that we’ll be seeing many more mainstream brands looking to engage with the EDM crowds.
Barry Smyth, director of marketing communications for Motorola made a very defining statement as to why the Google owned company got invlolved with electronic dance music.
“Moto X and our music accessories are all about expressing yourself, a belief that we believe really aligns and resonates with EDM fans. Partnering with Live Nation gives us the opportunity to connect with these fans in a whole new way that is both meaningful and memorable.”
That’s a pretty declarative statement that clearly shows the incentive for brands to work with these festivals. The ability to directly connect with this technologically savvy demographic and to create compelling experiences that they will remember AND share is where brand marketing is headed in 2014.
To say that music fans in this demo are being sought after is a gross understatement. The IEG Sponsorship Report estimates that sponsorship integration within the global electronic dance market is worth $4.5 billion a year.
That’s big business and a niche that brands seeking to reach millennials might want to take notice of.