How do endorsements work?

Migaluch

Senior Member
This question comes to thought when i remember how the one "Mad Drummer" was in fact an endorsee of Ludwig drums.

When i think of drum and cymbal endorsements, i think of the ability to simply call up the company and order whatever you want to play with whenever you want, for free. Is my view of this incorrect? Can you get whatever and as much product as you want? I think of Mike Portnoy, who gets to build his Monster kits for no charge from his sponsors.

Also, how do you become an endorsee and how do they find you? Do you need to be a well known of and popular drummer to get a deal like this? Do you need to specifically use their product to get them to say "hey, this guy is pretty good, maybe we should sign him up?" Before the video of the Mad Drummer went viral, i am sure no one had heard of this guy yet he has an endorsement from Ludwig? Why?

I may be missing some questions i had about this topic. I'll probably ask more about this later. Thanks for the help!
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Heaps of threads on this already mate. Do a search on "endorsements" and you'll find it discussed numerous times. Check posts by Bermuda and others here with enorsement deals......the real story is far different from the fantasy.

To give you a very basic understanding though,

No. You don't always get stuff for free. Depending on the deal you have it may be discounted gear, it may be no discount at all, but support from the company. Top line drummers would be on a far better endorsement deal than a lesser known player.....purely becuase they have a greater exposure and can reach more people.

The higher your profile, the more likely you are to have a "better deal". The whole purpose of on endorsement is not to give you "free stuff". It's to promote the name of the company you are endorsing. The higher your profile as a musician, the more people will see the brand you choose to endorse.

It would help to use the product wouldn't you think? If you're gonna go out and claim how good it is, a working knowledge of the company and their products would be benficial. Remember, they are not there to endorse YOU as a drummer, you are there to endorse THEM as a company. Would you endorse a product you didn't believe in?

As for the "viral drummer".....can't answer that. What sort of exposure did he have before hand?
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Before the video of the Mad Drummer went viral, i am sure no one had heard of this guy yet he has an endorsement from Ludwig? Why?
That had me as well. How does some guy playing in a cover band get an endorsement?
But if you read his bands profile, they play some 250-300 shows a year all around the country. So, while it may be a lower level, the guy gigs a lot and travels a lot. So he's getting some exposure for the brand.

But it doesn't mean he got his Ludwigs for free. Maybe it just at a discount. Some times at lower levels, the drums aren't even given to the drummer, they're just loaned out. I've also seen deals where the endorser still has to buy from the store, just the "endorse" arranges for the store to give the endorser a good deal. It's really only the top name guys that get whatever they want for free.

Pocket covered the rest. It's been covered in other threads, and Bermuda has a whole long thing he has written up in the subject that nails it.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I think they probably gave him a discount on his gear in exchange for letting him call himself an endorser. There seems to be a lot of that sort of agreement going around, which kind of debases the concept.
 

Joe Morris

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
i know i have written threads about this subject before so yea do some research on here and you should find it. If not hit me back and I will enlighten you. I know a lot about the subject.

joe
 

Naigewron

Platinum Member
Before the video of the Mad Drummer went viral, i am sure no one had heard of this guy yet he has an endorsement from Ludwig? Why?
His band, Rick K. And The Allnighters, play hundreds of show every year. They're an extremely active band in every sense of the word. This means that even though he's not a famous drummer in his own right, those kick drums with the Ludwig logos are seen by thousands or even tens of thousands of people every single year, which is massive exposure when compared to you average drummer.

I'm guessing he didn't have a top-level endorsement from Ludwig, but he probably got some discounts or some freebies here and there in exchange for the exposure he gave their brand. He's also a very active and eye-catching performer, and he has a DVD out, which means that even more people will notice him than your average show band drummer. So when the kids who see him go to ask their parents for a drum kit, they might just be inclined to look for a Ludwig kit.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Thanks, that was started many years ago based on my own experiences with companies since 1984, as well as being privy to their view on endorsements and endorsers. It's been approved by every company who's seen it, and they wish every drummer would read it before submitting a promo pack. A few companies have adopted/adapted it as their endorsement FAQ (with an appropriate credit of course!)

Bermuda
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
His band, Rick K. And The Allnighters, play hundreds of show every year. They're an extremely active band in every sense of the word. This means that even though he's not a famous drummer in his own right, those kick drums with the Ludwig logos are seen by thousands or even tens of thousands of people every single year, which is massive exposure when compared to you average drummer.
not to mention he's a full blown celebrity on youtube with hundreds of thousands of views on his videos. that's got to count for something!
 

bigd

Silver Member
It sounds like the guy is/was one of the comanies regional endorsers. He was able to prove he played this many gigs to this many people per year for so many years running. I think those are harder to get now then they were 10-12 years ago. The company still makes their full profit. He basically gets to buy the equipment at wholesale from them which is great for him and total profit for the company. I doubt very highly he gets any free stuff. Regional endorsers get to jump through tons of hoops to get the "honor" of endorsing a product while the company makes it's full 100% profit just as if it was selling to one of their retailers.
 

Migaluch

Senior Member
Sorry i didn't research this before. I really feel stupid when everyone yells at me for that haha. Oh well, i will try to not make that mistake next time.

Great link bermuda. That pretty much answered everything. BTW, that's really cool how you drum with Weird Al, that really is something. I just love how this site gets to bring guys like me with the pros. Man i love DW.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
It sounds like the guy is/was one of the comanies regional endorsers... I think those are harder to get now then they were 10-12 years ago. The company still makes their full profit. He basically gets to buy the equipment at wholesale from them which is great for him and total profit for the company... Regional endorsers get to jump through tons of hoops to get the "honor" of endorsing a product...
Don't underestimate the value of that, though. Certainly it's just as good for the company as selling to a store, but it's a great deal for the drummer as well, even if they don't end up being listed on the site or appear in ads. Besides the savings, they enjoy direct support from the company, and if the honor factor is important, they're welcome to claim that, too.

Really, that's how an endorsement should be approached. It can never be about what can had for free, because companies see through that very quickly. Nothing is more amusing to a company than a drummer who says "if you won't give me drums, I'll go to xyz company." Drummers like that are bad news for the unfortunate company who does sign them.

Anyway, most companies (including Ludwig) still do regional, courtesy and c-level endorsements. A friend of mine in the L.A. area just got a 'cost' deal with Ludwig, although he's not listed anywhere. But he's got a good level of exposure both on his, and especially since he's been sitting-in with my bands while I'm touring! :)

Bermuda
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Not only do the endorsements vary from "artist consideration" to full on provided kits, they also vary depending on the product. It's probably a lot easier to get free, or nearly free sticks or heads than it is kits or cymbals.

Endorsements are part of a companies marketing budget. What kind of exposure or buzz can they get for X outlay? A full page ad near the front of Modern Drummer costs $xxxx, while giving a set of heads to some local hero might cost $x. If you hit 50 local heros in different towns which cause 50 other folks in each town to go out a buy a new set of heads, your return on marketing budget is $yyy. If that magazine ad creates 500 new sales, you've lost money on the deal. Selling a kit to some local hero at cost means you've cut the local dealer out of the commision on a sale but haven't lost any money yourself. But if people run to their neighborhood store and buy the same thing they saw at the club, the stores come out ahead.

Many years ago I was offered an endorsement deal for guitar strings. This company was handing them out to lots of local folks with any sort of notoriety. The brand I prefer won't even cut a deal with a buddy who's been on lots of national tours and plays in Vegas with all the big names, so there's no way I'm getting those. I was also offered a stomp box by a guy just starting out. It was basically a sonic copy of an esoteric amp I have so I figured I didn't need it. Kick my behind when that box went viral with an 8 mo. waiting list and units going on e-bay for 3-4x. But the relationship got me a shorter wait when I wanted one for festival backline use, and I was able to set my buddy in Vegas (who deserved the support) up with one.

OTOH, I know folks who go after every deal they can get. Wrangling "artist" pricing on everything from soup to nuts, whether they actually play that instrument, or use it in the public eye, or not. I guess I'm just a value kind of guy. If something is worth it, I'll pay the going rate. If I don't have a use for it, who cares what kind of deal I can get. It's about having something useful, not whether you got a "deal".
 

Joe Morris

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
You guys are going back and forth on this a little bit. Trust me you have the guy right here in Bermuda. He knows freaking everything about endorsements and how they work. Just read his thread on it. John turned me onto to so much information about this sort of thing. We both endorsed the same drums for years so I would pick his brain every chance I got. I even remember when I was leaving a certain company to go to another I called Bermuda before I called the company just to see what he thought.

My two cents on it very quickly. I have plenty of endorsements and have had for years. I have been with most of my companies for 15 to 20 years. All I can say is be a true endorser. Use the equipment because you like it, not cause its free or cheaper. Have honor about your endorsements. There are way to many guys just looking for free stuff and that's just not gonna happen. Companies have great instincts when it comes to seeing through the idiots. So do us drummers. These days it's a lot harder to get a full endorsement than it was back in the day. So as drummers be a good guy, have honor with your equipment deals, use the stuff because you like it and promote the product. This type of attitude will pave the way for other "real" drummers to have the same opportunity as you did. This is the way I have always looked at my endorsements.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
You guys are going back and forth on this a little bit. Trust me you have the guy right here in Bermuda. He knows freaking everything about endorsements and how they work.
Thanks, and for the record, I currently endorse 13 companies' products, and formerly endorsed 15 other companies' products, dating back to mid-1984. My longest-running current endorsement is 25 years, and other agreements have lasted up to 22 years.

The reasons that so many endorsements ended had to do mostly with their product changing, or my finding something I preferred. A few companies simply went out of business or stopped making the product I endorsed. But never, ever did I leave a company because someone offered a better deal. The 'deal' does not govern the products I use, I use what I want to use, and I don't use anything just because it's comped.

Being a good drummer is all well and good, and level of exposure is important, but being a good endorser is important as well. I can't claim to be a great drummer, and I do have a fairly high-profile gig and put my endorsed products in front of a lot of people... but equally important to all of these companies is that I am established in the drumming community, have a long-term and (I'm told a) respected online presence and am accessible to other drummers, I use what I say I use, and while I say nice things about those products and brands, I keep it in context and don't come off like a shill. Drummers tend to listen to me. Well, not all, but enough. So I have the credibility that companies look for and don't always find, even with some celebrity drummers with a very high level of exposure. In short, I'm considered a good endorser.

Well, not to toot my horn further, I just wanted to point out that I've enjoyed some great relationships with a lot of companies and their people, over a lot of years, and have learned a thing or ten from them. I'm pleased that other drummers (and players) have found some useful information in my FAQ.

Bermuda
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
My FAQ on this has been around several years - www.bermudaschwartz.com/endorsement

Bermuda
I've seen this before, but it was good to read it again. It pretty much covers all you'll need on the topic......unless you're lucky enough to get a phone call, that is.

In order to have it handy when this question is posed again next week (not a dig at you Mig, but let's face it...it will be), I'm wondering if it should be a Sticky? (with your approval of course, Jon.)
 

PeniScott

Silver Member
An endorsement deal is done as a favour for the manufacturer. They 'sign you up' because they believe you can get their name out there and spread the word about their great sounding products. They do this with bigger bands/artists/drummers for obvious and previously discussed reasons.

There is a major difference between Lars Ulrich and a drummer endorsed by zildjian that's touring around England only. The big players have many fans and followers. So when asked something along the lines of 'what cymbals do you use and how do they sound so good', Lars would answer 'I use Zildjians. I love them.' Or something to that effect.

When younger fans of Lars Ulrich and metallica hear that he uses Zildjian. They'll want to use Zildjian too, in an effort to try and sound like him.

xoxo
 
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