The main room at Converse's Rubber Tracks studio in Brooklyn. The… (Courtesy Converse Rubber…)
(This story has been corrected. Please see note at bottom for details.)
Converse Rubber Tracks, the musical/marketing concept that the shoe company launched in 2011 with a full-service recording studio in Brooklyn, is coming to Los Angeles in the form of a pop-up studio, and the first roster of bands chosen to participate has been announced.
The studio will be popping up at Swing House Rehearsal Studios in Hollywood and will offer no-strings-attached music-making time for young bands and solo artists, who are invited to record a song that will be distributed via Converse's Rubber Tracks website, but which the artists retain the ownership rights to. Those selected for this installment are Holladay, Nola Darling, Rocky Business, Marz Lovejoy, Vince Staples, Def Sound and Coultrain.
The convergence of bands and brands is an ever-evolving aspect of the music business, and in recent years initiatives involving some of the world's most prominent clothing, soft drink and lifestyle companies have taken on a new form: a kind of corporate patronage system in which hip artists are sought as a way to build a connection between fans and brand.
"The hypothesis is, in today's social media world, people are media," Converse's chief marketing officer, Geoff Cottrill, told me at this year's South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas. "They are the carriers of media. And I think that there are experiences that a brand can give to a consumer, and if it's done in a meaningful and genuine way, the consumer -- the artist -- then turns and says, 'I had a great experience there. Converse didn't ask me to sell out.' " The company opened a pop-up studio in Austin this year during the festival, and it selected a handful of Texas bands to participate.
The L.A. studio, which is being co-sponsored by Shiekh Shoes, will be open for the artists starting Monday, and each will get a day to create greatness. Once the tracks are finished, they'll be posted on Shiekh Shoes' Facebook page, where fans can vote for one of the bands to travel to Brooklyn and record in the full service Rubber Tracks studio.
The bands get free Chuck Taylors, to boot.
(UPDATE: An earlier version of this story misspelled Shiekh Shoes as Sheik Shoes.)
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