There was a time, only a few years ago, when beverage companies were the industry that musicians aimed to get a hold on. Pepsi's role as the Super Bowl halftime show sponsor still reflects the role of soda and beer in music advertising. According to a great new report from Billboard, credit card companies and the banks they affiliate with may have taken the advantage.
Consider the biggest musician in terms of sales at the moment: Taylor Swift. Her entire tour for the album 1989 will be sponsored by American Express. What does each side get out of the deal? Obviously AmEx gets the benefit of having one of the world's most influential musicians in future advertising campaigns. Swift can take solace knowing that her deal will help her sell tickets: Membership-oriented services such as credit cards allow for moderation of presale events, which have already brought in 240,000 ticket sales...to American Express customers alone. Swift might not need as much help selling those seats but other performers could use the extra publicity for their tours. It's also great for acts to see tickets selling in advance versus in the days leading up to a show, some extra comfort. The relationships between credit card companies and musicians is less about cash payments and more about advance publicity.
American Express may have Swift, and has booked Sam Smith for 2015, but Citi is the clear leader in the field, according to Billboard. It holds deals with 70 acts among 2014's Top 10 touring performers—including One Direction, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.
As most of the major brands are looking to enter the field, expect Citi's hold to lessen. Big competition is coming and that may mean bigger paychecks for the performers involved.