Future Business Models: When brands go beyond endorsements. Part 5: Converse Rubber Tracks

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Like Hard Rock and Red Bull, Converse have recognised the marketing power of partnering with musicians. The century-old shoes and clothing brand are also offering their support to rising artists in a humbler (yet just as welcomed) way than the other two companies: in 2010 they built and opened the Rubber Tracks Studio in the hip neighbourhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

You will have guessed it, it’s free of use for any band who successfully goes through the application process on their website. Trying to accommodate as many young musicians as they can, the Converse Rubber Tracks team select the best applicants every week and invite to them to records for 1 or 2 days with a professional team of sound engineers. Recently, the brand has also started touring a pop-up Rubber Tracks Studio in several cities across North America, with the same application process.  Even though artists used the facilities for free, they own any master recording made in the studio and are offered the option to authorise the use of their music on Converse’s website and social media profiles.

McAlister-Drive-New-Single-Converse-Rubber-Tracks

Naturally, most artist who were given to opportunity to record for free will be inclined to authorise converse to use their music. Moreover, appearing on a major brand’s online platform can only result in additional exposure. This provides Converse with an unlimited source of cool content to share on their Soundcloud and Youtube pages, helping the brand to tap into the indie culture and capture more credibility with the key young and cool demographic.

This act of music philanthropy, along with several other musical operations events involving already established indie artists (such as Rubber Tracks Live concerts), certainly has a greatly positive impact on the cool factor of the brand and has also arguably played a part in the recent radical growth of the company, which has seen its revenues jump from $ 205 million in 2002 to $ 1.4 billion in 2014!

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