There’s no doubt about it that the music industry is riddled with corporate sponsorships, which when used correctly can produce great results. Just look at South by Southwest, which is the ultimate example of the union between corporate sponsorships and music. SXSW would be unable to survive without the help from well-known companies, and to be honest, we music fans enjoy this marriage, because it usually means free stuff for us!
There comes a time when this sponsorship goes too far–when it affects the music. Lately (for some unknown reason) Camel Cigarettes has been sponsoring concerts. Can you see the irony? A cigarette company sponsoring concerts where you are not even allowed to smoke indoors. Even if you ignore that obvious fact, Camel sponsored shows are always completely under sold. This happens because Camel buys up almost all of the concert tickets to give away, yet no one knows how or where to obtain these golden tickets, so what usually happens is the poor saps who actually bought tickets (the die-hard fans) are the only ones there.
The most recent Camel sponsored show is the upcoming Spoon show at Terminal 5. This show “sold out” within days of going on sale, because only a fraction of the tickets were sold, leaving many fans disheartened and turning to Craigslist or Ebay to pay exorbitant amounts for the few tickets available (Note: Though the show was “sold out” at the Mercury Lounge box office, tickets have recently become available through Ticket Master).
While I am all for free tickets to concerts, I am completely against Camel’s “method” for giving them out. As there is no information on their website (which takes ages to get on, as they ask for your Social Security Number to determine if you are of legal smoking age), it is impossible to figure out how to get these free tickets. You literally have to magically be in the right place at the right time.
(left: This isn’t a a flyer on the floor–it’s actually a free ticket on the floor. Say what?)
Last week a couple of my friends were at The Annex on just a regular bar night (i.e. no sponsors or specific parties) and said that the floor was literally covered with Spoon tickets. This is what I don’t understand. If Camel is looking to sponsor shows and buys up all these tickets, why don’t they promote the actual giving away of said tickets, instead of littering the Annex’s floor with them?
It’s somewhat ironic that a company successfully able to promote something that kills, is entirely unable to promote a single concert. I think they should stick to what they’re good at and leave the music industry to the professionals!