By: Joe Beninati
“How do you get those endorsements?” is a question I am asked frequently. My name is Joe Beninati and I am a drummer originally from New York. I pounded the pavement in NYC for about 15 years with multiple bands in the early 2000s with the dream of making it. I have had the opportunity to play with amazing players and at amazing venues while living in New York. All of these experiences, plus music school and amazing teachers helped me to continue on this path as my family and I moved up to Maine five years ago. I did not realize that all of this would prepare me for the path to becoming a part of the amazing drum companies I work with today.
I think that the first thing to realize is that having endorsements or sponsorship does not mean free gear and that you can now slack. I work harder now than I ever have. Every gig I play, video I post and recording I am on is not only a representation of me as a drummer but also of every company I represent. That is right, “I” represent each company! This means you need to love what you play. If you don’t feel good using the gear that you sponsor or are not happy with the company you endorse, it will show. You are already headed in the right direction if you realize that are taking on the JOB of being the face and player of a company and you need to work.
You must be professional if you decide to reach out to a company or if they reach out to you. Companies want to have people on their team and in their family that play well, speak well and work hard for them. They want to know that you are out playing, recording and/or posting content about their product online. You are a living and breathing advertisement for them. That means, work on your craft as a musician, your interpersonal skills, your communication and study other musicians that endorse companies to see what they do to promote. Most importantly, be pleasant!
What companies are looking for:
That you will support and advertise for them by playing their gear. Most of the time, exclusively.
That you are seen and heard by enough people that would make a difference in exposing the brand to new people.
That you talk to other musicians, music store, clubs, studios, etc about their products. These places are where information is shared and the name gets spread to a wide range of potential supporters.
Be honest with the company about the products. What you like, what you don’t like, what strengths the gear has, and any defects. In a lot of ways, you are the first line of defense if there are any issues with quality or otherwise.
Keep in communication with your reps about all of the above.
What you should be looking for:
- Products that you love. Again, don’t assume you are getting free stuff. Love what you play!
- Support from the company to promote you as an artist and your playing.
- Quality product. You want what you play to be well built and sound great. If there are quality issue, you want a company that will handle it for you.
- A contact that you can reach at least during business hours that will be able to help you out. Be respectful though. Your rep has their own life, family, gigs, etc.
Before reaching out to companies, I recommend finding an artist application online that you can download. (DW is a good one to look at). Fill it out. See how you feel answering the questions. If you feel comfortable filling it out top to bottom with no hesitation, you are ready to reach out to the company you are looking to join. If you feel there are areas that you can’t fill out, think about ways that you can improve in that you can improve them in your musical career. Work on it until you feel good about filling that section out. An example would be if you play out twice a month. How could you get yourself out there to play twice as much? …Three times more. All companies are looking for the same traits in their artist as noted above.
Write to the artist rep for the company. They are under “contact”, most of the time on the company website. Take the information that you have already gathered for your test application (refer to “First Step” above). Briefly introduce yourself, hit upon the major points on your test application and note a website where they can hear you. A personal website or band website works well, and also give a social media account to show your online presence. Hit send.
Wait. Be patient. It could take weeks or months before you hear anything. Sometimes you don’t hear back at all. A lot of these companies are getting slammed with endorsement inquiries and it’s usually one person fielding all of those messages. If you don’t hear anything in two weeks. Send a polite follow-up email. If you hear back, they will ask you for additional information. If from there you get a deal, be humble and show your appreciation. If you get a no, don’t give up. Ask what you can work on so that they will consider you. Chances are you may already know in your gut what you need to do. Once you feel like you accomplished goals in that area, try again and note your growth in your email. If you don’t hear back at all, take a deep breath and move forward.
Once you have your endorsement, remember that you are endorsing the company as well. It’s a symbiotic relationship. Promote as much as you possibly can and ask what they would like to hear or see from you. Always show your best side. Be positive but also be honest. And love your instruments.
Joe is an Endorsed Approach Artist with Collision Drumsticks.
Based out of North Yarmouth, ME, USA, Joe is an independent drummer that we know and trust. He is well respected in the industry and has many incredible achievements as an artist.
To learn more from Joe himself, here’s how you can get in touch: