Not a shocking statement to hear coming from one half of the Neptunes. After 10 years working in Music in Advertising, I can tell you just about every creative out there would give their batting arm to work with The Neptunes, and many have.
I could not agree with him more. Checkout the quick article HERE.
It’s great to hear an Artist as well respected as Pharrell talking about the inherent value that Advertisers can bring a budding artist. For The Neptunes, Ad Agencies might as well be Clear Channel radio. They have helped him break records world wide and sell millions of records, for his own music and the music he has produced for others (remember the Producer gets paid mechanical royalties before anyone else gets paid).
Pharrell is giving good advice to up and coming artists – “Chase Ad Agencies and Brands, ” but remember he has had a team of people there to help him, all he has has to do is make much and show up. But he shows up well.
I remember working on a Cadillac pitch about 8 years ago for Escalade, where the Agency creatives and myself had created a project starring Pharell for the brand. Cadillac was showcasing the new car at at gallery on Rodeo drive and he showed up with his entourage. He was very approachable, very easy to talk to, and VERY willing to work with the brand. The project was a fantastic match for him, but alas it never saw the light of day. His willingness to listen to brands needs, and not just his own is most certainly one of the reasons he has done so well in this space and some may argue as an artist altogether.
A few points I want to make to artists in regards to this fantastic article.
1.) Build your community – I cannot stress it enough – the Agencies and Brands know who he is and go to him, but once he (and his team) learned the power of the brand to broadcast a new single, he came to them.
2.) No matter who you are, your track just may not be right for the Ad and Branding world. Pharrell sent out the first single to his IN MIND record, and it never clicked for him in a major spot. It just wasn’t right. So if Licensing is a major part of your plan. PLAN AHEAD and write songs that make sense for brands.
3.) Build your rolodex. You need to have the contacts to be able to push your music through the channels to even give it a chance. Reps do it, so can you, if you are not ready for a rep or don’t want one. It comes down to time and perseverance. I can tell you this after over 15 years of being an Agent – The client LOVES to hear from an artist directly. Just make sure you know how to represent yourself, both upfront and in the throws of a deal.