Rock 'N' Roll Brands Take Center Stage

The New York Times, Monday, October 29, 2007 12 PM
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Amid plunging record sales and Internet file sharing, rock stars are eagerly plastering their names everywhere. Their "brands" are now found in TV commercials, tour sponsorships, and merchandise as diverse as cars, private-label wines and celebrity cruises.

Some rockers, like Bruce Springsteen, still refuse to form corporate partnerships. But others say partnerships and branding have to be part of their musical portfolios, especially for little-known bands. The rock band Kiss has been among the most prolific merchandisers, selling products ranging from condoms to the "Kiss Kasket," a limited-edition coffin. Its latest offerings include musical toothbrushes and window blinds.

Band branding appears to know no bounds. The Black Crowes market rolling papers, Bon Jovi offers $1,000 signed canvas art prints and Motley Crüe peddled Motley Brüe, a carbonated drink. Even the Rolling Stones toot the corporate horn, teaming up with Sprint and Budweiser for concert tours, and hawking everything from bras to bomber jackets.

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