Saturday, May 31, 2008

50 Cent and MTV Do a Trump
Rapper and Music Channel Team Up for Hip-Hop 'Apprentice'-Style Reality Show

Originally posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Advertising Age 'Songs For Soap' on 05.30.08 @ 02:54 PM

Just a week after his purported $300 million deal with MySpace hit the rumor mill, 50 Cent and Viacom-owned MTV have announced a partnership that, according to a report in Variety, will feature the rapper hosting a new kind of hip-hop "Apprentice"-style show. The premise? Sixteen contestants will live together and compete in challenges that relate to being street-savvy, business smart and, no doubt, showing the same kind of deal-making prowess that is a common theme in the entrepreneurial urban music scene.

Each week's episode will end with 50 Cent narrowing his search down by firing two of the contestants, so look out for that new catch phrase "You fired, bro."

MTV also announced a clutch of other new music-based reality shows: "Buzzin'," a humorous reality series that will chart the rise of music artist Shwayze and Cisco Adler; "Busted," a half-hour show that chronicles kids that break the law; and a docu-series that follows T.I.'s community service and march toward jail, which will hew to a similar formula to sibling channel VH1's "Countdown to Lockdown," which charted a similar run-up to a jail sentence for top female rapper Lil' Kim.

Finally, Diddy's "Making the Band" is being revamped and will now be called "Making the Rock Band" as Diddy "steps out of his comfort zone."

It's interesting to see this crossover of styles and formats as artists continue to take centerstage in broader-based entertainment properties, where a music career is essentially a star's "cost of admission." As we keep saying at SFS, there's a big opportunity for brands to integrate into music reality and entertainment based shows, though with three of the five shows featuring hosts or participants with criminal records, it does make you wonder if, for marketers, there are slightly safer and more mainstream-alternative TV vehicles to get involved with.
Songs For Soap on the Soapbox Again
Panel at Clio 2008 Outlines the Future of Brand-Music Partnerships

Originally posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Advertising Age 'Songs For Soap' on 05.20.08 @ 11:37 AM

Tunnicliffe & Simon : Clios Keynote 2008

Following my participation in the Musexpo panel in L.A. three weeks ago, yours truly has been at it again, this time addressing a packed audience last Friday at Clio 2008 in Miami. This time, I joined someone who knows a thing or two about the creative side of music and brands: Joel Simon, the award-winning founder and creative force behind JSM Music. He's arguably the biggest producer of commercial production music in North America and the current go-to producer for big name stars performing in commercials.

Our joint 45-minute panel, "How the Ad Industry Became the Saviors of the Music Industry", tracked the evolution of brand–music partnerships and showed examples from the three stages of evolution that we'd identified:
  1. Brand-music "associations" -- music appearing in commercials
  2. Brand-music "integrations" -- i.e. Madonna and Sunsilk, Mary J. Blige and Chevy
  3. Brand-music "business partnerships" -- i.e. Groove-Armada-Bacardi and P&G-Def-Jam, which allow brands to potentially profit through becoming business partners with artists and labels.
We went "behind the scenes" on some deals and also pointed out that, while the opportunities for profit, innovation and breakthroughs were increasing exponentially, the deals were becoming much more complex from a licensing and rights point of view, and clients and agencies needed guidance in this space.

We had such a positive reaction that Joel and I have decided to make the presentation available -- complete with examples and behind-the-scenes information -- to any agencies or clients that wish to learn more about the latest happenings, challenges and solutions in brand-music partnerships. Contact me if you fancy your own private show ... erm so to speak ....
Will MySpace Put $300M in 50 Cent's Pocket?
Major Labels Under Pressure to Compete in Brand-Music Partnership Space

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Advertising Age Songs For Soap on 05.19.08 @ 01:56 PM

50 Cent: 'Loads o' Money'

According to widespread media reports, MySpace is in advanced talks sign 50 Cent to a $300 million multiyear, 360 deal that would give Rupert Murdoch's company control over Curtis James Jackson III's tours, books and film projects as well as future albums.

However, rumors of the deal have been denied by 50 himself as well as his management and a G-Unit "associate" that spoke with Vibe magazine, but it's not clear whether the reports may be wrong, inaccurate or just awkward while negotiations are still taking place.

50 Cent would be the first A-list artist that MySpace has enticed aboard its fledgling MySpace Records, and the deal, if completed, will dwarf those made by Live Nation with Madonna for a reported $120 million and Jay-Z for $150 million. 50 Cent is currently signed to Interscope Records, which has been with the rapper since the early days of his career, but his deal, which includes his own Interscope-backed label, G-Unit records, is due to expire soon.

Forbes hasn't issued its 2008 Celebrity 100 list yet, but in last year's ranking, 50 Cent received an estimated $33 million through his various ventures. With the sale of his stake in VitaminWater for an estimated $100 million, his ranking this year should put him at the top near Oprah Winfrey, who was first last year with an estimated income of $260 million.

Increasingly, labels are left holding only the back catalogs as their superstars flee for other ventures, but that's not where the real money appears to be these days. While CD sales continue to decline, artist income is increasingly coming from broader enterprises. To quote leading-edge artist manager Terry McBride (who's in charge of the Barenaked Ladies and Avril Lavigne) at the Musexpo keynote: "We are now in the business of building entertainment brands, the music is simply the glue that holds it together"

At a time when major labels are reporting poor earnings and shedding staff, it looks like they are really going to have to invest in talent in order to compete with the deep-pocketed new entrants to the markets.
Panelists at Musexpo Talk of Music-Branding's 'Coming of Age'
If You Need Proof, Watch the Evening News

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe originally in Advertising Age Songs For Soap on 05.07.08 @ 10:57 AM

The MUSEXPO bands and global consumer brands session
: Photo: John Gannon

(From l.) Chris Dorne (VP, production/director, Connectivetissue
/Mediavest, USA), Steven Stewart (senior manager, Nokia Music Solutions), Gary Arnold (senior-VP entertainment, Best Buy), Jim O'Mahoney (co-founder, Filament), Dan Diamond (VP, National Cinemedia), Mike Tunnicliffe (president, Tuna Music), Marianne Goode (VP music, Lifetime TV/Lifetime Entertainment) and James P. Dunne (president, Inspire Entertainment).

"You know that there's a serious business here when it's become a regular topic in the news," stated yours truly at a packed bands and global consumer brands session at the Musexpo music conference in L.A. last week.

Other panelists concurred, including the former CEO of Saatchi international, Jim O'Mahoney; Best Buy's senior entertainment officer, Gary Arnold; and Nokia's head of music, Steven Stewart. All agreed that the business has finally come of age, and if one needs further proof, he or she merely needs to turn on the nightly news. Consumer-brand tie-ins with artists continue to make high-profile media stories, most recently Groove Armada's recent deal with Bacaradi, which made a splash across the news in the UK.

O'Mahoney, who is leaving Saatchi to set up a business in the brand-music space, said, "There's no getting away from it. We are at the dawn of a new era, and its staring us right in the face."

This echoed a similar theme from the keynote panel, which featured luminaries such as promoter Harvey Goldsmith and managers of acts like Avril Lavigne, Missy Elliot and Kiss, who all commented on the growing importance of brand partnerships for the artists and events that they managed. While welcoming brands' involvement, the panelists were somewhat scathing about the traditional record labels' ability to "get with the program" and act in a collaborative manner.

This sentiment was summed up by a rather forthright comment from Goldsmith, who suggested that artists may soon opt to go it alone with support from brands instead of labels. "Why are the record labels today still so fucking difficult and slow?" he told the panel audience. "The opportunity is to get with the program, otherwise the artists will just take advantage of what is fast becoming payback time."
Major Scottish Brewer Inaugurates World's First User-Generated Music Festivals
Tennents' New Business Model for Live Music Offers Some Answers to Industry Woes

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Advertising Age Songs For Soap on 04.28.08 @ 01:18 PM

The Tennents Mutual site is a
music destination as well as a hub for
the user-generated non-profit.

Leading Scottish brewer Tennents has created a new music fund and online destination that allows fans to select artists, decide locations and call the shots on ticket prices for sponsored gigs in Scotland this fall.

The beer co. has invested £150,000 (about $300,000) in the start-up, dubbed Tennents Mutual, and fans who sign up before June 30th will be given "founder" member status, giving them the right to vote on the "who, what, why, where" of all decisions in regards to how it's spent. Tennent's Mutual is a not-for-profit enterprise, and no booking fees will be charged for shows. Ticket income will be ploughed back into the central fund, creating a self-generating amount that will grow and be reinvested into creating more live events.

As the live music industry increasingly becomes where the dollars (and pounds, in this case) are coming from, this model puts more control into the hands of fans, a natural development, considering they've been taking and receiving increasing control in other areas of the music industry lately through file-sharing and fan-led pricing models (i.e. Radiohead's "In Rainbows," Nine Inch Nails's "Ghosts" albums and Saul Williams' "Niggy Tardust" album.) It also plays nicely in the current environment, where fans and government/industry bodies are pushing back against ever-increasing ticket prices, although it's not clear if this venture will be able to stop the tickets from landing in "secondary markets" for which there is an increasing backlash from fans and (in the UK) the government.

Tennents, brewers of Tennent's Lager, the best-selling of its class in Scotland, has had a long-standing association with live music, in particular through its high-profile summer festival T in the Park. In addition to other music gatherings, the company also sponsors the T Break program, a Battles of the Bands style contest where unsigned acts compete for the chance to play sponsored gigs and jump-start their careers with other promotions like CD samplers.

Will People Fast-Forward Through a Show About Ads?

Mark Burnett Intends to Find Out With New CBS Reality Series About Jingle-Writing

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 04.15.08 @ 02:56 PM

Who says the jingle is dead?

According to Reuters and The Hollywood Reporter, reality show producer Mark Burnett is lining up a new advertising jingle reality show for CBS where contestants will be given weekly advertisement-writing assignments that they will then have to perform in front of a studio audience.

Viewer votes will then determine the weekly winner, whose tunes will have the opportunity to be featured live in an actual commercial. According to the HR story, CBS ordered eight episodes of the advertiser-friendly "Jingles" (working title) before the Hollywood writers strike started last November.

While details of the show are still trickling out, SFS thinks that there could be opportunities to extend the concept into broader brand-music partnerships, especially since they've largely eclipsed the impact of jingles these days. Why stop at writing jingles? Contestants could also be tasked with coming up with ideas that show how brands and music can former broader partnerships, the sorts of more engaging projects that we write about here every day.

According to The Hollywood Reporter / Reuters, sources said the series has started casting and pre-production, and CBS is expected to announce a summer launch within the next couple of weeks. We don't have details of who the panel of judges will be, but I'm sure that Burnett would have no shortage of qualified candidates from the ranks of Advertising Age. Our agents will be in touch.

If and when this show airs, expect round-the-clock coverage of it on SFS.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Rise and Rise of Niggy Tardust
Nike Boosts Fortunes of Hip-Hop Poet Saul Williams

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap 04.14.08 @ 01:35 PM

Saul Williams has come out a
winner with his 'Niggy Tardust' album,
possibly thanks to a halo effect from his song in a Nike spot.

Hip-hop poet and Trent Reznor protege Saul Williams has scored a big hit through licensing his song "List of Demands" to Nike for its SPARQ "My Better Is Better Than Your Better" spot.

The song, which comes from Williams' self-titled 2004 debut album, appears to have had a halo effect for his second album, the Reznor-produced and critically acclaimed "The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust." The Nine Inch Nails frontman persuaded Williams to put out the album directly to fans with the option of a reduced-quality free version or a higher-quality $5 version, a similar formula to Radiohead's and a precursor to Reznor's own "Ghosts i-iv" album.

According to a story by rock critic Greg Kot in Friday's Chicago Tribune, sales of the downloaded album have been gradually creeping up since the Nike commercial began airing. As of today, 225,000 people have downloaded the album and 60,000 have paid the full price, which is double the amount that his first album has sold. The single track itself has also had more than 400,000 views on YouTube, and the digital single has been selling 10,000 copies a week since the ad first aired.

Williams has always been difficult to classify and package as an artist because of his eclectic nature; he mixes rap, poetry, hip-hop, industrial and various other genres. But he says he's delighted with the effects of the Nike ad. He told Kot: "And at the end of the day, it's been about the exposure. Not only the exposure to me and my music, but for me, who always falls in the category of being a 'message writer,' there are a lot of people being exposed to perhaps a new way of thinking, some new ideas, and that really excites me."
As Sponsorship Dollars Roll In, Fans Need to Be Taken Care Of Too
Live Sponsorship Business Broke $1 Billion Barrier Last Year but Predicted to Slow in 2008

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 04.14.08 @ 01:05 PM

According to leading sponsorship agency IEG, North American-based companies will spend an estimated $1.04 billion to sponsor music venues, festivals, tours and concerts this year, capturing around seven percent of total sponsorship dollars. While this is only a four percent increase on last year after years of double-digit growth in the past, IEG senior editor William Chipps told that corporate spending on live music "remains healthy."

According to the report, the most active categories include air travel, apparel, auto, beer, cable, computer storage, energy drinks, insurance, soft drinks and wireless telecoms cos., though various broader "bundled" deals have started to come through, such as Live Nation's deal with Citi last year. This deal included tour sponsorships, ticketing, venues, and one-off events like Billy Joel's summer concerts at Shea Stadium.

IEG's March sponsorship report has a separate interview with Live Nation's president of national alliances, Russell Wallach, who says that "companies are looking for bigger opportunities than traditional music sponsorships have offered them," and that they're are now asking how they can get involved with music as a year-round marketing platform.

However, it's not just a case of looking at broader platforms and packages, what we've been increasingly advocating is better communication and understanding of not only what brands and artists want out of brand-music partnerships, but also what consumers get out of them, making sure that all three parties have mutual benefit. This applies no less to the live marketplace, where the venue/festival, the artists, the consumer brands and the fans need their interests aligned, and if we dare say it, where actually the consumers/fans should be foremost in everyone's minds.