It used to be that radio stations dominated the airwaves. Because payola laws prevent record labels from paying radio stations directly, promoters and consultants act as the middle men to create contests and other brand-sponsored tie-ins to get bands from big labels on the air. And today, not much has changed. Even newer outlets like satellite and streaming services have major label representation.

So how can an up-and-coming, independent artist get their songs on the places their future fans will hear them? It could be that brands will play a big part in promoting new music. Before record labels came along and industrialized the production and sale of records, tapes, and CDs, artists were often supported by wealthy benefactors and patrons – all while maintaining their artistic integrity. Why shouldn’t this be the case today? Artists have social currency: the fans and followers who love their music. And to brands, that matters.

Relationships between brands and artists are still being pioneered – shaping up in new and interesting ways. Take a look at the latest brand/artist collaboration with Kia and Maroon 5 featured in the following article on Forbes.com. Does the collaboration result in a music video or an advertisement?

For those who are passionate about independent music, this is yet another example of how artists can benefit from brands and garner broad exposure without a record label. These examples should inspire entrepreneurs to create new models for music marketing that will enable emerging artists to benefit from similar brand relationships.

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