The Road to Coachella Belongs to Republic Records

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The Universal label bought eight billboards on California's I-10 promoting such acts as Kid Cudi, Black Sabbath and Alex Clare.

Anyone traveling to Coachella this weekend cannot help but notice Republic Records’ presence at the festival -- the company bought a series of billboards to be sure of it.

Eight different billboards were posted along California's Interstate 10 leading to the festival fairgrounds in Indio: one with the label's logo, five promoting Republic artists who are playing Coachella (James Blake, C2C, Alex Clare, Ghost B.C. and Ben Howard), and two who aren't playing the festival but have new albums imminent (Black Sabbath, see image below, and Kid Cudi).

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“We had done a few last year -- I think we did three -- and the response was really positive from consumers, the artist community, managers,” said Jim Roppo, EVP of marketing. “So this year we have more artists there, we have new releases coming out, and we just felt like going bigger.

“It’s also a way to convey to the industry community what we’re doing at Republic -- to managers and film companies in a B-to-B way. We’re in Southern California, we’ve got a huge event and the whole industry is going there on some level, so it makes sense in a B-to-B as well as a consumer [tactic].”

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He noted that the billboards get "something like 2 million impressions during the weeks that aren’t during Coachella," according to owners the Lamar Agency, and said that it’s not a marketing tactic that’s often used by the label. "We do them periodically, we did them for the Grammy [compilation] and I know Cash Money did some for Lil Wayne, but generally they’re pretty limited to New York, L.A. and a couple of top markets."

Two other Republic artists are performing at the festival -- Bingo Players and the Colorist -- but, because they don’t have immediately upcoming albums, they didn’t get billboards. "I hope they’re not mad," he said.

As for the future of the project, he said, "We’re already securing them for next year," before adding with a laugh, "Coachella has locked in through 2030, and we’re doing the same for the billboards."

Check out a gallery of Republic's Coachella billboards at

Twitter: @billboardbiz