Film Review: Band Vs Brand

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Cleopatra Entertainment









In what seems like ages ago, there once was a time when you heard a band on the radio, bought the record, went to their concert when they toured to your area, and picked up the official tour t-shirt! Then came the digital age and changed the entire way the music industry does business.

Band Vs Brand, a documentary from Cleopatra Entertainment and directed/produced by Bob Nalbandian, focuses on a band’s ability to adapt and change in order to remain profitable and stay relevant as the record industry progresses around them. It makes sense that most of the artists interviewed aren’t the current crop of mainstream Top 40 radio stars, but rather members of the great bands that are still out there making music and doing their thing while navigating innovative ways to re-brand themselves.

Broken down into sections, we’re weaved through several different pieces of the overall brand puzzle: The importance of band logos on merchandise, capitalizing on the branding of your band name (KISS is discussed at length) to withstand the test of time, the songs becoming bigger than the band themselves resulting in discussions about the original lineups versus the current lineup, tribute bands, imaging on today’s internet media, and more!

In the middle of all the discussions in this film, the one constant thing that everyone seems to understand is how crucial branding is for a band. Where the waters get a little bit murky is in the discussions that dig into the how’s?

- Is it really KISS without Peter Criss and Ace Frehley in the band or is it all about the makeup and image?

- Has the anything goes internet media revealed too much about a band and cheapened their image?

- Has the absence of labels taken away the quality control of the music?

Though we do get a lot of different viewpoints on all these subjects (and more), the true beauty of a film like this is the discussion that it inspires in its aftermath amongst music lovers like me and you. Running an internet webzine like this one ( versus a print version like we used to do back in our early days, means that we’re constantly discussing the quickly changing promotion/marketing landscape and the very subject of the best ways to brand our image.

Dave Lombardo (Suicidal Tendencies/Slayer) - “I’m not against branding a band, but there should be some integrity there!”


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