The CONVO unpacks sustainable creation

FRUKT’s new fanzine explores how brands can better connect with increasingly fragmented audiences

Simon Singleton

Music Editor and Lead Music Curator FRUKT


We at FRUKT have just dropped the first edition of our new fanzine, The CONVO, where we’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with Elijah, legendary grime DJ, artist manager and co-founder of the seminal label Butterz. In recent years he’s been releasing daily threads on his Instagram known as ‘Yellow Squares’, providing insight in the music industry and helping artists think about sustainable creation in this new world.

Working together on The CONVO, we’ve been unpacking ‘sustainable creation’ further, and specifically how brands can work better with artists to create mutually beneficial partnerships that allow artists to flourish, while helping brands better connect with increasingly fragmented audiences.

As the world adapts post-pandemic and new technologies arrive, The CONVO explores five ways brands can better collaborate with artists to foster ‘sustainable creation’.

Brands should offer bespoke support to artists for live music

Live music is facing a challenging time, greatly affecting artists. Recent research by charity Help Musicians announced that nearly 80% of musicians are earning less post-lockdown.

Despite an ever-increasing saturation of content creators, there’s a new wave of artists creating an intimate fan connection, and this is where brands should take note.

Simon Singleton Music Editor for FRUKT

It’s clear artists need carefully plotted, bespoke support with their touring, from travel and accommodation to fan support to ensure busy venues and vibrant atmospheres. There’s huge value for brands who can contribute in a valuable and collaborative way. Elijah suggests brands could “support tour roll-outs and make key shows special for the public, rather than working on private events that offer rewards to a limited audience.”

Brands need a bold approach for TikTok

TikTok is continuing its rise as one of the most dominant tools for musical expression, with clear potential rewards for brands using music. When brands feature songs in clips that people like, 68% remember them better, and 58% say they feel a stronger connection to the brand.

Despite an ever-increasing saturation of content creators, there’s a new wave of artists creating an intimate fan connection, and this is where brands should take note. One such artist is DJ/producer Jyoty, who showcases up-close party vibes alongside first-hand interrogations of club life, capturing everything that’s exciting about DJ culture.

Where Elijah recommends this leads for brands is more fulfilling artist partnerships and the slow-death of the transactional influencer. “Brands need to back great creators for extended periods to get the best out of them creatively. People see through #ad now, and artists that find clever ways to work product into what they’re creating will get more views than disruptive advertising.”

Brands should work with artists successfully mobilising their audience

Despite chaotic online output, many artists are finding ways to cut through the noise and mobilise their communities using a mix of established and newer platforms, such as Discord and Telegram.

Recent BBC Sound Of 2023-shortlisted Fred Again is one such artist - superfan listening parties on Discord servers and official Reddit ‘subreddits’ talking to his most engaged crowd. This has helped pull his audience into his journey, with over 55 million engaging with him via streaming and social channels during December 2022 alone.

Brands need to understand that audiences, tired of #ad notifications and echo-chamber content, are demanding evermore interaction and engagement.

Brands should see opportunity in the rise of the multidisciplinary artist

As web2 transitions into web3, many artists are finding new means to network and express their wild creativity. Such polymaths are inspiring, particularly with Gen Z, not just for their singular creative output but for their multidisciplinary entrepreneurship and trailblazing digital promotion.

Brands need to look at these polymaths as co-creators and campaign architects rather than merely artists-for-hire, and will reap the creative benefits for doing so. This is only going to increase as web3 technology becomes more prevalent, where many of these artists are already way ahead of the curve.

Brands should use artists to empower the next generation

There has been a glut of ‘top-down’ mentoring workshops from superstars which are difficult to relate to for any emerging artist. Many young creatives are instead inspired by a ‘sideways’ approach - people from their world who understand the same challenges and give them confidence to take that next step. And for artists, it’s a way to mobilise your audience and bring people together.

Elijah is a fan of this approach. “Artists with mobilised communities can find ways to make their platforms impact harder by making educational content rather than just promotional material.”

Brands can play a key role here, partnering with relevant talent that young people connect with and collaborating to create inspirational content that can also form deeper connections to a brand’s ethos.

These are just five ways that brands can better collaborate with artists to better support their adopted passion and bolster campaigns. We believe the idea of value exchange (above and beyond hard cash) needs to be at the heart of how brands work. To strive for mutually beneficial and symbiotic, rather than parasitic, relationships, and to talk authentically about the spaces we play in.

To read more from The FRUKT CONVO Zine download it here

Guest Author

Simon Singleton

Music Editor and Lead Music Curator FRUKT


Simon Singleton is the Music Editor and lead music curator at global agency FRUKT, with vast experience of working with artists and rights holders on brand partnerships. He has over 20 years experience in the music industry, initially managing one of the UK’s leading independent brands Pure Groove before joining FRUKT in 2012. At FRUKT, he’s helped develop the music strategy on major client projects including ibis MUSIC for Accor Hotels, curating in-hotel shows all over the world, and programming the award-winning Jagerhaus stage for Jagermeister, which hosted emerging bands including Self Esteem, Nova Twins and Squid. In addition, he’s worked on brand/music projects for Coca-Cola, Nandos, Mastercard, Foot Locker, and numerous other clients.

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