10. The Converse recording studio
And, of course, as covered by the New York Times, Converse sneakers are getting into the music game with plans to open a recording studio called Rubber Tracks in Williamsburg. Generously, Converse will underwrite the cost of recording for bands tapped by the sneaker company as a good brand match and offer no creative input into the music, no requirement to use them in Converse ads, and allowing the bands to retain complete ownership over the recordings. It is basically a nirvana of label obsolescence.
While record companies have started to expect 360 deals from bands to get a cut of everything, brands seem to be able to offer a lot more money and freedom. The trade-off is that your iPod will soon be sponsored by corporations. Which option do you prefer?