Saturday, April 12, 2008

P&G Gets Into the Record Label Business
Hip Hop Mogul Jermaine Dupri Partners With Tag Deodorant

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 04.11.08 @ 01:52 PM

Dupris and P&G: Smell of Success

In an interesting twist on brand-music partnerships, Jermaine Dupri has partnered with the Procter & Gamble-owned Tag Body Spray to form TAG records, which is part of the Tag brand's initiative to cultivate relationships with the urban community through the development of programs that provide opportunities for aspiring hip-hop talent.

Dupri will serve as president of the new company, which will distribute through Island Def Jam Records. Dupri said in an interview on that, in the face of declining sales and technological advancements, this deal will provide him and the label with promotional support that's unprecedented in today's market.

Artists that are signed up will get the full support of marketing campaigns built around the TAG brand including television, print, radio, digital and event marketing.

This is not the first time that a brand has ventured in to the record label space. Starbucks is probably the best known example, but there are other brands out there that have announced some interesting deals including Levis, who set up Levity records in Australia and Bacardi, which signed an exclusive deal with British dance Act Groove Armada.

This is certainly an area that SFS feels is set to grow and could be a great a way for artists to have more freedom and control over their product and for brands to have the ability to invest in content and get a return over and above the promotional benefits of being associated with an artist. Just imagine the potential returns if a brand got involved on the ground floor with a financial interest in the next Alicia Keys, Beyonce or Jay-Z.
Fashion Faux Pas
Stars' Clothing Lines Leave a Little to Be Desired

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 04.10.08 @ 01:03 PM

Whilst SFS is not necessarily an arbiter of fine fashion, two musician-endorsed ranges that have appeared recently that are well, 'erm, a little off color in the fashion stakes!

Veteran Crooner Stewart

Veteran crooner Rod Stewart has launched a range of clothing and accessories, which according to a report in The Telegraph, "consists largely of sober T-shirts and tracksuit tops for men and women, bearing the rocker's image. But the collection is not without a nod to the singer's flamboyant past with 'official Rod Stewart panties,' a snip at £2.50, are shiny black, emblazoned with red hearts and include the words 'Isn't it Romantic'."

The collection also includes Rod Stewart emblazoned mugs and baby grows. Hmm tasteful!!

Meanwhile Scary Spice, aka Mel B, has launched a range of "Catty Couture," according to a report in

"Catty Spice" Mel B

According to the report, the range "features a number of animal print patterns, her trademark costume as Scary Spice. Reflecting much of Mel's onstage wardrobe" and the 32-year-old star commented in People magazine, "I'm so excited! It got pulled together quickly, really quickly. ... To actually see it, yeah, it's amazing."

Well indeed! SFS thinks that it just shows how amazingly bad some of these endorsements and artist-designed ranges can be when they are pulled together so quickly and apparently without much thought.

On a serious note, in the new 360 brand-partnership world, the artists' brand values need to be as carefully defined and protected as leading consumer brands, as discussed in our post on the Livenation Jay-Z deal last week.

Jukeboxes Now Hooked in to Social Networks

How Would Fonzie Feel About Facebook Picks?

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 04.10.08 @ 11:05 AM

Touchtunes, the supplier of those snazzy digital jukeboxes that can be found in over 30,000 bars and clubs, has teamed up with "social technology" company Loca Moda to provide a mobile social platform that connects consumers' favorite online social networks such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter with their favorite social hangouts such as bars and clubs.

This is how it's meant to work: People in bars and clubs will be able to use their mobile phones to interact with flat-screen panels driven by Touchtunes' jukeboxes, so they can send the jukebox requests for songs or "gift" songs to their friends. In a stalkerish twist to things, online users of the social networks can actually see which of their friends are hanging out in their local bar by getting notification via data feeds of which friends are using their mobile phones to connect with the flat screens. They in turn can also gift songs from their computers to their friends in the different bars and locations as well as send messages, photos and other forms of user generated content to the in-venue screens. Brand content can also be displayed via the platform, giving opportunities for brands to interact with music fans in a social environment.

Art Matin, CEO of TouchTunes, said, "Because user messages and brand content can be displayed both online and on-location, advertisers can easily extend their brand's reach and multiply the number and value of their impressions "

Jay-Z Keeps Live Nation on the Hearts and Minds of America With Enormous Deal

With Nearly $400M Invested in Artist Deals This Year, Tour Promoter Needs to Maximize Returns

No long after we reported on the Live Nation-U2 deal, the ever-expanding music company is clogging up our RSS readers again with the announcement of an almost-completed 10-year deal with urban star and business mogul Jay-Z.

Jay-Z has inked one of the most lucrative music deals in history, according to  the Times.
Jay-Z has inked one of the most lucrative music deals in history, according to the Times.

The deal, announced in yesterday's New York Times, is reportedly worth $150 million, by far Live Nation's biggest 360 artist deal. But the agreement buys into much more than Jay-Z the artist; it reportedly takes in Hova's broad range of business endeavors, including recording, merchandising, touring, publishing, image-licensing and sponsorships.

Whilst many are lauding this as a shrewd investment from Live Nation and for the future of the music business, not all industry pundits are applauding. Maverick music industry commentator Bob Lefsetz says this morning in his daily newsletter that this deal is "old men trying to cash in one more time to support their egregious, expansive, expensive lifestyles" and an attempt by Live Nation to bolster its flagging stock price.

Live Nation's chairman, Michael Cohl, commented in the Times piece that he was not worried, and that "the whole [deal] is what's important, [Jay-Z] could be doing more tours and doing great, there could be endorsements and sponsorships."

Given that Jay-Z sold his Rocawear Company for over $200 million last year and has many other financial interests, Mr Cohl may well be on the right track with Live Nation's new artist-related businesses. But, with an ever-increasing need to maintain and leverage these superstar artists' brand equity, Live Nation is really going to have to learn to speak the language of brands andmanage brand-related businesses.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Live Nation Extends Relationship With U2

Welcome to Songs for Soap, Your Trusted Source for Everything Live Nation and Madonna-Related

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 03.31.08 @ 04:25 PM

Photo: Gary Calton
U2 will join Live Nation for 12 years.

Reuters reported this morning that Live Nation Inc. has announced a 12-year deal to exclusively represent U2's touring, merchandise, branding opportunities, website, digital marketing and other creative and marketing services.

The contract follows a broader deal struck last year with Madonna, which also included music distribution and publishing. While the U2 deal doesn't include publishing and recordings -- which remain with Universal Music Group -- the deal highlights the ongoing changes in the music industry.

There are not many details yet about the logistics or financial aspects of the deal with U2, but the Madonna deal which was reportedly worth $120 million over 10 years, so, using that as a benchmark, the U2 deal is likely to be worth in the 10's of millions.

According to Reuters, Live Nation Chairman Michael Cohl said the company "will focus on signing other major artists rather than developing new acts such as a traditional music label or publishing house would." The company's new strategy is to diversify its interests away from tour promotion and into other areas of revenue and product development. According to Cohl, its new strategy will also include its website, which he said was "aiming to become the biggest music portal on the web through a mixture of ticketing, merchandise sales as well as fan clubs and other features."

[Via Reuters]
Madonna Makes Hard Cash From 'Hard Candy'

More Details Emerge About Multiple Brand Tie-Ins From Forthcoming Album

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 03.31.08 @ 02:54 PM

According to a feature this morning in leading U.K. national newspaper The Telegraph, Madonna's "Hard Candy" album, which was pre-launched last week as part of a global Unilever Sunsilk campaign, is set to earn millions from other brand tie-ins.

The newspaper reports that she has signed other lucrative contracts with major companies, including Vodafone and Fuji, and over half of the tracks on the album have been licensed to advertisers. This will ensure that she not only gets pots of money, but also more global exposure for the album launch.

The deal with Vodafone means the network's customers will be able to listen to seven of the tracks a week before the album's worldwide release on April 28. Though the paper claims that this is the first time that an album has been launched on a mobile phone, hip-hop artist Timbaland announced an exclusive deal with Verizon back in February to become an "artist in residence" for the phone carrier, releasing a track a month exclusively for Verizon V-cast customers. As we also pointed out recently, mobile could become a major life raft for the music industry, so it's good to see two such high-profile artists embracing the platform in such an innovative way.

Madonna has also licensed "Miles Away," expected to be the album's second single, as the theme for a drama called "Change" on Japan's Fuji TV. John Reid, the president of Warner Music Europe and vice-chairman of Warner Music International, Madonna's label, said: "If it all goes to plan then there is no reason why other acts shouldn't strike similar deals."

Given that Madonna is leaving Warners to join Live Nation for a "360 contract," they should indeed be looking at their roster to strike more of these types of innovative deals.