Are endorsement deals worth it?

(Future)DWdrummer

Senior Member
Are they?

I'm only 16, I'm playing with a band called Against the Ordinary- we're fairly new buuut we're incredibly serious about our music...

If the band starts playing often (3-4 gigs a month... That's often right?) would it be worth it to try to go for a deal with a company- I'm thinking just a cymbal deal to start off...

Or, as a 16 year old, am I completely in over my head?

I met a local drummer, out of Orange County, named Harley DeWinter, last night at a gig. He's my age, 16, buut he already has deals with TRX, DW, Los Cabos, and Aquarian. Being the same age, I started thinking " Well we are the same age, and are about as good as eachother, why can't I at least TRY for a deal "

Buut like I said, I may just be in over my head x)

Any guidance to what I'm thinking or any comments about deals (good or bad) are very much welcome.

Thanks, Jacob G.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
First off, welcome to Drummerworld. Haven't seen you about before... Hope you stick around!

Your question about "endorsement" is one we see really frequently, especially from younger players. And to put it shortly, endorsement doesn't work like that.

An endorsement is something a drummer gives a gear manufacturer. It's the drummer's recognition of that gear as something he puts his name and reputation behind, because he believes in it and the company that make it.

As such, anyone can be an endorser. But an officially recognized endorser is someone with an awful lot of recognition and clout in the business, and the gear manufacturer decides that they will use that endorsement to try and make money. The thinking goes, if drummer A endorses our product, and drummer A is an internationally known/respected drummer, and is in Band Y which is the hottest thing right now, it makes good business sense to make use of that relationship.

I could go on and on, but to cut to the chase, there are a few companies (mostly cymbal companies) that are using "endorsement" as a sales gimmick. It does not mean you are really getting any sort of special deal. As a matter of fact, it's kind of contrary to what endorsement really is.

You need to do a search for "endorsement" on this forum and be prepared to read for the rest of the day. A great place to start is with Berumda's endorsement FAQ.

You should endorse a product because you believe it's the best thing you can buy and use, not because someone will give it to you at a discount, or free.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
First off, welcome to Drummerworld. Haven't seen you about before... Hope you stick around!

Your question about "endorsement" is one we see really frequently, especially from younger players. And to put it shortly, endorsement doesn't work like that.

An endorsement is something a drummer gives a gear manufacturer. It's the drummer's recognition of that gear as something he puts his name and reputation behind, because he believes in it and the company that make it.

As such, anyone can be an endorser. But an officially recognized endorser is someone with an awful lot of recognition and clout in the business, and the gear manufacturer decides that they will use that endorsement to try and make money. The thinking goes, if drummer A endorses our product, and drummer A is an internationally known/respected drummer, and is in Band Y which is the hottest thing right now, it makes good business sense to make use of that relationship.

I could go on and on, but to cut to the chase, there are a few companies (mostly cymbal companies) that are using "endorsement" as a sales gimmick. It does not mean you are really getting any sort of special deal. As a matter of fact, it's kind of contrary to what endorsement really is.

You need to do a search for "endorsement" on this forum and be prepared to read for the rest of the day. A great place to start is with Berumda's endorsement FAQ.

You should endorse a product because you believe it's the best thing you can buy and use, not because someone will give it to you at a discount, or free.
Couldn't have put it better myself.

Even though we're only a very small company, we get about 10 such requests/week. It's great that players are interested, especially younger players with much potential & enthusiasm, but the brutal fact is, it's a two way business deal.

Our take on endorsement is a little different from most. We don't give gear away - ever. We only associate with players who have already played our drums and found them to be the very best for their requirements. We offer a discount to such players based on work done for us (videos, sessions, etc) as well as general promotion. We use our endorsees as testers for our latest innovations, as well as general roadworthiness trials, & incorporate their feedback into improvements/augmentation.

Ask yourself this: What do I want from such a deal, & what do I have to offer in return? Different companies have different policies. Generally speaking, the bigger the company/brand, the more exposure they'll expect to get from your association. As Al warned you too, there are companies out there that dangle the endorsement carrot as a sales tool. They sight inflated prices & then offer a discount to the "endorsee". This is merely a shameful (IMO) sales tactic & has no grounds in a fruitful partnership.
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
I just took a look of the roster of artist endorcers on the DW and Aquarian website.Your drummer pals name,dosen't appear on their artist roster at all.

So,someones not being truthful here.

I hate to rain on your parade,but to get free gear,you really have to be a artist that has mass appeal and recognition.

There are also different levels of artist endorcement.

Remember,it's you, the artist who endorces the product,not the other way around.

I don't think John Good is going to be handing over free DW kits to unheard of 16 year old drummers.Sorry man,that's just the way it is.

Steve B
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
Are they?

I'm only 16, I'm playing with a band called Against the Ordinary- we're fairly new buuut we're incredibly serious about our music...

If the band starts playing often (3-4 gigs a month... That's often right?) would it be worth it to try to go for a deal with a company- I'm thinking just a cymbal deal to start off...

Or, as a 16 year old, am I completely in over my head?

I met a local drummer, out of Orange County, named Harley DeWinter, last night at a gig. He's my age, 16, buut he already has deals with TRX, DW, Los Cabos, and Aquarian. Being the same age, I started thinking " Well we are the same age, and are about as good as eachother, why can't I at least TRY for a deal "

Buut like I said, I may just be in over my head x)

Any guidance to what I'm thinking or any comments about deals (good or bad) are very much welcome.

Thanks, Jacob G.


Worth what, discounts on gear that you use? Do people really want to pay less for gear?

You're 16, who's paying for your gear anyway, you, or your parents?

You're probably more motivated by keeping up with the Jones', if you have an endorsement deal you're considered more cool/on/with/it... it's all OK, nothing wrong w/that way of thinking, the bottom line is you'd be saving $ if you got a deal.

Again you're 16, if you can meet the requirements and keep your end of the agreement, I say get all the endorsement deals you can. All this crap about believing in the product/company, I don't think at 16 you'll be losing any sleep over it. If you use VIC FIRTH and VATER offers you a deal for instance, (if you haven't already) find a VATER stick that works for you.

Endorsee's would be giving you a discount in exchange for you flying their flag/advertising, they wouldn't be putting you on the payroll to sell their product.

I don't think one has to believe in the product/company for one to endorse it, the product (and the endorsement) just has to work for you on every level, the former would then be automatic.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
All this crap about believing in the product/company, I don't think at 16 you'll be losing any sleep over it.
I don't think one has to believe in the product/company for one to endorse it, the product (and the endorsement) just has to work for you on every level, the former would then be automatic.
I agree - that's why I said "our take is a little different than most". A mercenary approach is quite commonplace, it's just not something that interests us. That doesn't make it crap however.
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
There are many types of "endorsements" out there. Rarely does any of them include free gear. Most of the good endorsements just tend to come, they aren't ones you seek out. There are a number of companies out there, that will give an "endorsement" to pretty much anyone just to get you to buy their product. There's been a number of threads on here about those type of companies.

Most of the time you end up with some kind of discount... The downside, yes while a lot of these companies give you discounts if your endorsed.... most of the time it requires you to buy a big chunk of their gear. For example, say you have a full set of nice Zildjian, Sabian, or whatever cymbals. You sign with company Brand X. Well your deal now requires that you buy a whole set of Brand X cymbals, well you get a nice small discount with your entry level endorsement deal. The problem is Brand X cymbals with your discount cost about double what it would cost you to get used Big 4 brand cymbals. Same thing goes for some of the drum companies I've seen. Also I would say 99% of endorsement deals are exclusive. Meaning you can ONLY play that brand of stuff and none of their competitors. That's usually why people suggest that you like the stuff before you endorse it, that way your not kicking yourself thinking "Man I wish I could just play my ____ brand stuff but I'm stuck in this endorsement."

Does saying you have endorsements make you look good? Probably, though not really to people in the know. Do you want to be endorsed by a bunch of companies who just give away endorsements? Well that's up to you to make that decision. There are plenty of people who would rather not. But I know plenty who would do anything just to say they have an endorsement or two. That's a decision you have to make.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
The only thing you need to concern yourself with now is learning how to play the drums and learning about music. Don't concern yourself with endorsement deals. You may as well be choosing the outfit you'll wear when you receive your Lifetime Achievement Grammy.

If playing the drums well and making good music isn't enough for you then endorsement deals will forever be consigned to the fantasies in your mind.

Forget about it. Do the work and be a good drummer, and a good musician, first.
 

Ian Ballard

Silver Member
Are they?

I'm only 16, I'm playing with a band called Against the Ordinary- we're fairly new buuut we're incredibly serious about our music...

If the band starts playing often (3-4 gigs a month... That's often right?) would it be worth it to try to go for a deal with a company- I'm thinking just a cymbal deal to start off...

Or, as a 16 year old, am I completely in over my head?
Yes.

You MUST consider a very large number of factors, if you want to the potential for endorsements to benefit YOU. Firstly, read the Bermuda Q&A. This guy knows his stuff and has been through the ringer with the industry. Second, you MUST have adults helping you make decisions and parents are not going to be objective enough. Third, just because 16-year-old JohnnyX, has endorsements with X, Y, Z companies, has nothing to do with you and your particular set of circumstances. You have to be cautious. There are A LOT of huckster fly-by-night companies out there who prey on people... *cough*Soultone*cough*... who don't give a rip about you but simply want to put a million endorser names on their page, so they look competitive to the big 3 or 4 brands.

My advice is to be smart with your gear purchases but focus on improving yourself, even AHEAD of the band you're in. You are going to be much better off, selling YOU than being "band guy". The chances of you having a career, making a decent living playing gigs and making streams of income playing and eventually teaching, consulting, recording, engineering/producing will much greater than the band you're in at 16, even making it big. Seriously. It's a harsh truth. So... the endorsement should come from your reputation as a player, not what band you're associated with, UNLESS that band has a SERIOUS reputation and can draw big crowds at big venues.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Yes.

You MUST consider a very large number of factors, if you want to the potential for endorsements to benefit YOU. Firstly, read the Bermuda Q&A. This guy knows his stuff and has been through the ringer with the industry. Second, you MUST have adults helping you make decisions and parents are not going to be objective enough. Third, just because 16-year-old JohnnyX, has endorsements with X, Y, Z companies, has nothing to do with you and your particular set of circumstances. You have to be cautious. There are A LOT of huckster fly-by-night companies out there who prey on people... *cough*Soultone*cough*... who don't give a rip about you but simply want to put a million endorser names on their page, so they look competitive to the big 3 or 4 brands.

My advice is to be smart with your gear purchases but focus on improving yourself, even AHEAD of the band you're in. You are going to be much better off, selling YOU than being "band guy". The chances of you having a career, making a decent living playing gigs and making streams of income playing and eventually teaching, consulting, recording, engineering/producing will much greater than the band you're in at 16, even making it big. Seriously. It's a harsh truth. So... the endorsement should come from your reputation as a player, not what band you're associated with, UNLESS that band has a SERIOUS reputation and can draw big crowds at big venues.
+1 freaking bajillion.

Don't worry about endorsements at 16. I'm 41, playing the biggest-drawing event in my area right now and all my endorsements are "I like this drum brand and this stick".

Play for who you are and who you want to be. The rest is a lightning strike of chance and talent waiting to happen, and if this crazy entertainment business is true to form, that's where your energy should be focused.

[Disclaimer: Whisky-enabled post.]
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Good advice already given and I admit, at 16, I dreamed of the ever-elusive 'endorsement deal'. But as the years went by and it never happened, I was never really bummed out about it and continued to play and become a better musician, so buying gear is just the cost of doing business for me. And as is evidenced here, I'm a fan of all kinds of drums and have demonstrated that by having a new kit whenever I felt the need. I don't do anything where I need the support of a company while out on the road, so an endorsement deal isn't necessary for me anyway.

I met a few company reps at the NAMM show and their biggest thing is supporting their artists - and this is where it's really important. Say you're Gavin Harrison and you've been called to play on the David Letterman show - well, Gavin's drum company will have a kit waiting for him at the Late Show set ready for him to play, so all he does is fly in and do the gig. That's where being a company artist really shines, in the support one gets so he can be the artist. Imagine the level of company commitment Stewart Copeland gets (got) when he was on the road with the Police for their 2007 world tour - he can't just go find a music store to buy what he needs - it's all supplied to him while he's out there. The company gets the exposure from the artist, and the artist loves the product, it's symbiotic.
 

StaggerLee

Silver Member
It depends. Do you genuinely believe in the product and want to stick with them for the rest of your life? I have an endorsement/sponsorship. I endorse the company and in return I get a percentile of the sale that was a result of my endorsing. Simple as, so we both get something out of it. I got this as I was with the company from the start and have ALWAYS believed in it. I don't do nearly as much as I should and I have not claimed much of it in fairness, I just enjoy sharing it. I got a large discount on the product too and hear what is in the works every so often. It works out well, but I know I will always stand by this product and that is why I got said deal. At the age of 16, do you really know what you want for the rest of your life yet? Just ask yourself that. Hope this helped.
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
Buut like I said, I may just be in over my head x)

You're 16, that's works 'for' you, get all the endorsement deals you can. Go for it, make your mistakes now while you're still young, learn from it.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
...make your mistakes now while you're still young, learn from it.


And I say it's better to learn from other people's mistakes. Most of us didn't have the opportunity for instant answers as up & coming hopefuls, and he's smart to ask questions in forums like this so he can get it right the first time.

Whether he heeds the advice is completely up to him.

Bermuda
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
Deals with companies are not really about the ownership of gear, either.

One of the common misconceptions of these deals is that artists get free gear. That may be true but it is a tiny minority. Most of the artists will get a discount of some kind based on their importance to the company.

The clincher for most though is logistical support. Imagine if you could play anywhere in the World and then call up your agent at the drum or cymbal company and they will arrange a rental kit for you. Imagine how much easier that is for a serious artist than having to do it themselves, often at short notice and then pay for all the support out of their own pockets.

If you are a big drum or cymbal company, like Yamaha, Pearl, Sonor, etc. they you be able to make the right calls that means that the artist can play a kit in the right specifications anywhere in the World at relatively short notice. That's why smaller companies can't or won't offer standard endorsement contracts. They simply don't have their kits and equipment in rental shops the World over. They can't afford to ship kits to you in odd places off their own back when there isn't a rental available. These are the things that only the big companies can do.
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
Keep in mind the Op is only 16, he's not going to offered A list support, pretty sure he's aware of that.

The only mistake would probably be in hindsight years to come should he look back and be sorry he didn't even try to get any deals.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
Keep in mind the Op is only 16, he's not going to offered A list support, pretty sure he's aware of that.

The only mistake would probably be in hindsight years to come should he look back and be sorry he didn't even try to get any deals.
Les, what you seem to be missing is that he more than likely will get screwed in this process. Telling this kid to go out and get screwed over when we have seen it happen over and over again is terrible advice.

Here is the truth of it (and I know because is has happened to a number of DW members).

He will send endorsement letters, or requests, in to big companies like Vic Firth, DW, Zildjian, Tama, etc. Who WILL all decline to offer him any level of endorsement.

Then he will find the smaller companies who prey on kids like this, so he will send requests to Soultone, TRX, Shine Drums, etc. who will say yes. However, he will be forced to pay thousands of dollars to buy a full set of cymbals, full drum kit, whatever to meet the requirements of the "endorsement". And what heppens when he wants to change or upgrade? You guessed it, he is paying full price "minus his small endorsement discount" to buy new gear, because there is no used market for the shit he is stuck playing.

If you doubt me, read this thread: http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=108474&highlight=soultone

or this thread: http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1164614#post1164614
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
Then he will find the smaller companies who prey on kids like this, so he will send requests to Soultone, TRX, Shine Drums, etc. who will say yes. However, he will be forced to pay thousands of dollars to buy a full set of cymbals, full drum kit, whatever to meet the requirements of the "endorsement".
This is what I was alluding to as well, though I didn't want to name companies these were some of the ones that came to mind.

However, in my opinion that's what the OP has to weigh. Is it more important to play what he wants and save some money possibly... or is it more important to him to have "endorsements." In his case it might be more important to look cool like his friend and say I'm endorsed by "Shine Drums, Soultone/TRX Cymbals, etc."

Also just a side note, if endorsements are important to you, it is usually easier to get endorsements if you have endorsements already. So if getting them are important you could look into one of these easy endorsements to get you off the ground.

He will send endorsement letters, or requests, in to big companies like Vic Firth, DW, Zildjian, Tama, etc. Who WILL all decline to offer him any level of endorsement.
Another funny story about this. I have a good friend of mine who is a endorser of a big name drum company and a big name cymbal endorser and has been for a while. So far he has been unable to get a Vic Firth or Remo endorsement.
 

bigd

Silver Member
Oh god, forget all this nonsense. Go practice and learn how to play. Study, practice, gig. If you really get good enough to endorse a company some day you'll know it. Good luck
 
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