INFLCR and Atlantic Records have expanded their partnership, smoothing the path for NIL deals with student-athletes to promote upcoming music.

Name, image and likeness (NIL) deals go beyond just big-ticket deals with individual prominent athletes. An interesting element of the space is companies working to connect brands with a wider database of athletes so they can find the ones with interests particularly aligned to what they’re marketing, and working to let those athletes figure out what brands might be interested in partnering with them. NIL brand-management and business-building company INFLCR has been active in that space, working with more than 3,000 teams and 64,000 student-athletes to date and launching partnerships like one with Blue Wire to make it easy for athletes to set up NIL-compliant podcasts. Their latest effort on this is an expansion of their already-existing partnership with Atlantic Records, an expansion which was announced this week.

The new partnership will pave the way for Atlantic to reach out to specific student-athletes on the INFLCR Global Exchange who might be a good fit for promoting particular upcoming music. It’s the first partnership of this kind that INFLCR has struck with a music company. Here’s more on that from an INFLCR release:

INFLCR’s Global Exchange will allow for direct communication between Atlantic and student-athletes through our messaging system, which allows Atlantic to propose specific records for specific INFLCR student-athlete users to promote. Through their INFLCR app, student-athletes will learn details on requirements for promotion, and gain access to share files.

“Our original partnership with Atlantic Records has given our clients a competitive edge when it comes to content,” said INFLCR Founder Jim Cavale. “With Atlantic now going into the Global Exchange, that edge gets passed to our student-athletes. It’s an exciting way to connect the sports and entertainment industry in this new NIL era.”

Atlantic using INFLCR opens the door for more connection between the collegiate sports and entertainment industry. A new wave of musicians are looking to athletes to help promote new songs. In the fall of 2021, Atlantic’s VP of Digital Marketing and Sports Partnerships, Justin Grant, reached out to INFLCR with the idea to promote some of the label’s priority releases. The need helped shape the Global Exchange to what it is today, and now Atlantic can use a turnkey system to promote their artists.

Grant said “I’m thrilled for us to be joining the INFLCR Global Exchange program. There’s such a strong natural connection between our music world, and the sports world, and this will help us further that connection. This partnership will be majorly beneficial for our artists, and I’m excited for us to dive in and get to work together.”

Here’s a video they put out on this:

This is interesting on several levels. One is the database aspect of the partnership, which might help Atlantic find more authentic partnerships here, reaching out to student-athletes who are already fans of particular artists rather than just student-athletes who happen to be big names. Another notable part of it is how this grew out of a content partnership; even before NIL, INFLCR struck deals with companies like Atlantic Records, Turner Sports, USA Today and Reuters for permitted uses of music, highlights, and images (a big deal considering how many school accounts have run afoul of social media copyright restrictions over music licensing). And now, that’s turning into not just athletes being able to use this music, but in some cases, getting it early and getting paid to promote it.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.