Getting “endorsed” by a company, whether it is as simple as the brand of strings, or as big as a guitar with your name on it, is really quite an honor, and something that can really mean a lot for your career. I have endorsed many musical products over the years, and been given many wonderful instruments, by manufacturers large and small, and for many reasons. Also, as an aside, I have noticed that many artists these days say “I’m being endorsed by…….”, when in actuality it’s the “artist who endorses the product.” This is an important distinction, and keeps the “chain of command” correct. Any products that say “Arlen Roth uses…….” Is a product that Arlen Roth endorses.
I can recall the many, many NAMM shows I went to, and all the artists I saw getting endorsements at those shows, and I must admit that sometimes it seemed like a rather obnoxious “feeding frenzy” on the part of those folks. I do understand that we all love endorsements, and we all love getting free equipment and seeing our name and face in ads, but there were times I really felt kind of bad for the companies themselves, as they seemed to be shelling out item after item for many artists, many of whom I felt were less than deserving of these honors. And an honor it is, as it should be treated as such if you are endorsing a product and lending your name to it!
One rule of thumb I have always used is simply the fact that if I am going to endorse a product, and especially if I am lending my name to it, it must be a product I really believe in, and a product I would really be happy to use! There was a time in the beginning of my career when I was happy to get as many endorsements as I could, to get as much exposure as I could, but these days, quality is so much more important than quantity. If you get any endorsements you must also think of your image and how that product, and how their advertising affects how the public sees you. I always try to make sure that the ads are as classy as possible, and that I have approval over my final pictures, and over the image of me that is projected to the public. Of course, when I had Hot Licks, I controlled that myself and also had to control the images of many other artists, some of whom cared a great deal about their image, and others who couldn’t care less! Ironically, it always seemed to be the least popular or known artists who made the biggest stink about how their image was used, and how their contract read! This is another pitfall to avoid; don’t make it too hard for that company to do an endorsement deal with you, as they will always associate that “difficulty” with you! In other words, be sure to “pick and choose” exactly what you become so picky about in an endorsement deal. Many times, if it just feels right, you should be happy to just go along with what the company wants. It all depends on the individual situation.
So, there will be more about this important aspect of the music business, as well as other “offshoots” in future blogs, so stay tuned, and I hope you get some great endorsements in the future!
Gibson,com’s Arlen Roth, affectionately known The King of All Guitar Teachers, is a music lesson pioneer and the quintessential guitarist. An accomplished and brilliant musician — and one of the very few who can honestly say he’s done it all — Roth has, over the course of his celebrated 35-year career, played on the world’s grandest stages, accompanied many of the greatest figures in modern music and revolutionized the concept of teaching guitar.