over here Andy, ditch that "bacterium york" fellow, he's a bit of a trouble maker, and I'll jump ship from Mapex.....Good article, & certainly as I understand it. The free or discounted gear is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of cost to the manufacturer, & in terms of value to the artist. Many often forget that global artists need a company with global reach. I'm often asked why we don't have any big name endorsers. Well, there's many reasons, but our lack of ability to service globally at short notice is certainly one of them.
Yes, the artist has to like the brand, but frankly, there's a raft of players out there who value other aspects of the "deal" way above actually liking the instrument, & a sizeable minority who couldn't give a damn about the brand. I meet artist relations & other industry people involved (logistics, techs, etc) quite regularly, & we all know who those guys are. So, next time you take notice that a certain player endorses a certain brand, think deeper than the optics!