In news that any fan of underground metal should find upsetting, Toyota has announced that it is pulling the plug on Scion, its offshoot car brand aimed at younger drivers. What may appear to be a car-related event news has a larger effect on the metal community, as Scion was tireless supporter of the scene.
Scion A/V, division in charge of marketing the brand through various mediums to target a younger audience, had a large involvement in the metal scene since its conception in 2003, the year the automobile brand was launched. For years, Scion has helped bands produce an endless amount of media, including EP’s, full-lengths, singles, music videos and events ranging from small shows to festivals like the well-known Scion Rock Fest.
Bands like Revocation, Immolation, The Melvins and Meshuggah are part of the endless list of bands that benefited from Scion A/V’s effort to support the metal community without making a single penny, as Scion A/V. was a non-profit division of the brand. All the artists involved retained all ownership of the creative content. Scion covered all production, licensing and distribution costs for the projects with any proceeds going directly back to the artist.
Metal Insider did an ambitious project called No Label Needed Contest and Series in which an unsigned band (the awesome Iron Thrones) won a recording session with Will Putney, website design, publicity, a radio campaign, self-management tips from The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Benjamin Weinman and more.
Their marketing extended to make exclusive Slayer-themed car with the sole purpose of promoting the brand. They also worked with the band last year on a series that showed them recording Repentless and premiering “When the Stillness Comes” through a series of videos. But many of the much smaller bands that played their festivals and shows say they were treated well and compensated accordingly for performing, which is rare for underground bands.
All the events sponsored by Scion were free of charge, including their massive yearly festivals which always had a staggering collection of bands from every style of the genre. Music was not the only thing given away for free at these events as they always had free grab-bags that included exclusive releases from the metal bands in their roster, keychains, ear plugs and the beloved Scion socks: the best socks you can ever put on your feet.
The list goes on regarding all the positive impact Scion had within the metal scene and all we can hope is for Toyota to pick up where Scion left off and keeps Scion’s marketing team to continue what they’ve done for the past 13 years. Their cars will be rebranded as Toyota when new models ship to Toyota dealers this August for the 2017 model year. Scion sales hadn’t been that strong in the past few years, and an article in Ad Age suggests that the younger buyers they created the brand for don’t have the negative stigma of Toyota as their parents’ car that they did a decade ago. You can read Scion A/V Metal’s last post below.