We’ve covered Scion’s music initiatives before. Not only did they sponsor our No Label Needed Contest and Series but the car company has released music from heavy acts like Magrudergrind, Enslaved, Wormrot and Primate through their imprint Scion A/V. They’ve also put on the annual Scion Rock Fest for the last few years, along with countless smaller shows they sponsor). But there’s two reasons why the New York Times’ recent profile about the car company entering the record industry is interesting. First off, it’s probably the only time we’ll ever read Wormrot’s name mentioned in a New York Times article that isn’t about trees. And second, it mentions how according to Ward’s Automotive (which tracks auto sales), Toyota (Scion’s parent company) only sold 46,000 Scion cars last year. That’s a major slump from the 173,000 cars sold in 2006. It looks like the music industry isn’t the only entity faced with declining sales.
Yet the Times profile also highlights a major point: that Scion A/V is more about making an impression than it is exploiting musicians – whether it impacts car sales or not. As Scion’s senior vice president Jack Hollis says in the article, “We have chosen to be supportive of the arts regardless of whether it comes back directly to us.” Or as the article puts it, the label’s cultural strategy is to ” is to build good will through many small actions rather than a few large ones.” Looking at the amount of cars they’ve sold recently, the amount of effort and resources they put into promoting music (while still letting artists maintain artistic control and ownership of their music) is not providing Scion with a huge payoff.
So don’t take this as us saying “BUY A SCION OR GOOD MUSIC WILL DIE!” All we suggest is next time you’re in the market for a car, maybe take a Scion for a test drive. Chrysler may have Eminem, but what other car company fully supports grindcore acts?