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creative allies

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(Asheville, NC) – Pro-surfer, model, and eco-adventurer Holly Beck will be one of several luminaries participating in a new online art contest series called Ally Originals. Ally Originals is a new campaign from Creative Allies based around celebrating innovative, inspiring and original personalities that are making an impact in the world. The curators have led lives of passion and creativity and are renowned in their industries for their unique style and influence.

Other celebrity curators for the series come from the worlds of design, sports, entertainment, and other creative industries. Each guest curator will invite Creative Allies’ community of over 25,000 artists and designers to submit original art and illustrations based on a theme of the curator’s choosing. Curators will then judge the contest and choose a selection of entries to become products like T-shirts, limited-edition prints, and iPhone cases that will benefit a non-profit of the curator’s choice. One overall winner will also be awarded $1,500.

Creative Allies will be accepting contest submissions between now until June 19th. The contest will enter into a voting period from June 25th through July 6th. On August 2, 2012, the winner and products for sale will be announced.

Beck has chosen water, waves and fluidity as the themes for the first Ally Originals design contest. She is an ambassador for the non-profit Waves of Hope and has chosen the charity to receive proceeds from the sales. Waves of Hope follows a mission to bring travellers, surfers and the local communities together through engagement and community service.

Creative Allies is a music service and design community best known for producing marketing campaigns for rock stars and brands including the Warped Tour, MIA, Feist, the Shins, Beastie Boys, Jane’s Addiction, 20th Century Fox, Hyundai, blink-182, Sony and LMFAO. With Ally Originals, Creative Allies now gives artists and designers around the world an opportunity to create iconic art pieces beyond just music and entertainment. The idea is to support emerging artists by paying them for their work but also giving them some ownership when merchandise is sold. Sales of Ally Originals designs will also benefit meaningful charities.
For contest details and how to participate visit: Creative Allies

Read more about the Ally Originals Contest Series here:
Ally Originals

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This week was another stellar week for the team at SoSoActive. Traffic is steady increasing and I had a really great interview yesterday with Anthony Fantano from The Needle Drop – stay tuned for the post next week.

However sweet things were, this week did end on a somber note with the passing of Adam Yauch AKA MCA from the legendary Hip-Hop group, Beastie Boys. A great loss and he will be missed. Without further ado here are the top 10 music related stories from the last 5 days.

Adam Yauch Dead: Beastie Boys’ MCA Dies After Battling CancerHuffington Post

Amanda Palmer Raises $368,000 in Two Days, Sets Records on KickstarterBillboard

Creative Allies : Our Goal Is To Change The Way Merchandise Is Designed and SoldSoSoActive

YouTube Music: It’s Bigger Than Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody, & Grooveshark Combined…Digital Music News

It’s Finally Here: Spotify Launches Its Long-Awaited iPad AppTechCrunch

3 Music Video Platforms Every Musician Should Know AboutSoSoActive

Adele overtakes Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ in UK’s all-time biggest selling albums listNME

Daniel Ek of Spotify Is Worth $308 Million DollarsSoSoActive

Pandora Has a Monetization Problem That Streaming Hybrid Jelli Cleverly SolvesPando Daily

European Summer Festivals 2012: The Cream of the Crop Part 2SoSoActive

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Music merchandising has always been a very important part of the overall branding strategy for musicians – both independent and major label artists. With the instability in record sells, musicians are depending on merchandise even more to engage their fans and drive in additional revenue.

Creative Allies is an merchandising company that has a network of over 25,000 plus professional designers who have worked with some of the biggest brands in music and entertainment.

The Asheville, NC based company has recently released a new platform called BandArt, which allows bands and brands to host design contest via their Facebook pages and leverage their network of talented designers. Here is an interview I had a few weeks ago with Creative Allies’ CEO Sean O’Connell, about their new product launch and their goal to change the way merchandise is designed and sold.

What is Creative Allies?
We are a community of 25,000 plus experienced graphic designers and we are pretty well-known for producing high quality graphics and merchandise for rock stars. We have worked with The Shins, M.I.A., Black Keys and LMFAO.

With the launch of BandArt App for Facebook, bands will be able to host their own design contests to engage their fan base and generate great artwork. BandArt allows bands and brands to easily set-up, market and manage a design contest via a custom Facebook application, social sharing tools and a dashboard.

What prompted you guys to create BandArt?

Really, it was out of demand. We have had thousands of bands contact us to get access to our network. For a while we had this platinum service – where we were primarily working with major artists, movie companies, record labels and music festivals. So, we really wanted to perfect what we do so we could create a self-serve platform which is what BandArt is. It’s not just running the design contests, our goal is to change the way merchandise is sold.

Merchandise for any band is expensive. When you use BandArt and pick a winner – you own that winning design. You can sell it on your website and on tour. You can do whatever you want with that, you don’t owe anyone anything else. Also, you can choose additional designs from your contest and you can decide to sell them. When you sell them, you are selling them through a Creative Allies storefront where you have no inventory cost and we offer really cool products. Over time we are gonna provide a lot of distribution opportunities to bands as well. Also, because your fans get to vote instead of merchandise being forced on them – you can also use real data to decide what you want to sell!

How have the changes in music industry affected the merchandising business?
The bands are relying on merchandise even more than before. You see a lot of bands doing bundling where they would throw in a limited edition t-shirt with the purchase of their album. A lot of bands are starting to sell directly to their fans now, where in the past a lot of the sells were made online or through a 3rd party – which was mainly the stuff that was left over from the tour.

For 35 years, music merchandising was primarily selling on tour and whatever you sold to your fans was what you had left over. Now the process works where bands are looking for unique products and they are spending more time and effort because they know they can really make money off of it. At the end of the day we have every record label coming to us because it engages your fan base, it helps you to get your product designed by great designers, it helps you finds new fans and its very viral.

How much does your service cost?
The way it works anyone can use our product. If they want to run a design contest on their Facebook page it’s free. What they offer a prize is really up to them. If they want to offer backstage passes it’s up to them, but it’s pretty obvious there is more incentive for a cash prize. If a band offers a cash prize we pay 100% of the money to the winning designer. If a band wants us to market their contest to our 25,000 plus designers, we charge a flat $80 fee. We require a minimum of a $200 cash prize for our designers.

What is the most important piece of merchandise for bands to have?
T-shirts are still the most popular type of merchandise however if you have offer limited edition products like iPhone cases that will work great as well.