Interesting post on Mashable and a great lesson for garage bands all over.
Most up & coming artists need to make their music known but have no money to invest. If you have your content and you have built out your brand (i.e. you have a pimped up website/profile/etc), then all you really are missing is an audience.
Any good marketeer will tell you that one of the first things to do when deciding how to reach your target market, is simply look at how other people are efficiently doing it. Arguably, no one has been more successful at targeting the youth + music lover market as Apple. Furthermore, they have created a mass demand for their products. Probably more than the product itself warrants if you compare functionality, price, etc to other available options. However, the key fact is they know what they are doing, and they do it well when it comes to getting their product in front of their target audience.
Apple also has financial muscle: $486 million invested in advertising in 2008 according to BNET. That buys an immense amount of adspace, and like Apple there are hundreds and thousands of other brands, investing continuously to build their business.
So why don´t you, as a decent sized band, OFFER your hit single for free to a brand you identify with? How else are you going to get $486 million to promote it? Many bands already offer free downloads to fans on their MySpace profiles, free EPs, free concerts, etc, etc. So why the sudden apprehension about partnering with a brand who can bring you more leverage than you will ever manage, no matter how hot you are on your social media?
Brands buy (massive amounts of) media. So, if the deal structure is right, brands ARE media outlets. And throughout history, music + media have always been a hot partnership…