Sunday, June 22, 2008

'Music 2.0 Manager' Sets Off Into the Wild Unknown

Music Tank and Terry McBride Create 'Brand Roadmap' for New Act

British music business development network MusicTank and Terry McBride -- "music business 2.0" manager of Avril Lavigne, Barenaked Ladies and CEO of Nettwerk Music Group -- are kicking off a unique, year-long project that will generate from scratch a mold-breaking 360-degree road map for an up-and-coming British act.

The initiative follows McBride's recent MusicTank report that showed how management and labels need to alter their mind-sets in order to cater to the behavior of the millennial generation -- generally defined as those born in the early 1980s who demand content to be available across multiple platforms simultaneously.

In the report, McBride endorses two key concepts that resonate with SFS:
  • Constant experimentation is the key to success. This is a common theme for McBride, who has achieved a high degree of success for his acts by developing "unconventional" but thoughtful marketing approaches.

  • Creating an artist "branding road map" that develops a true appreciation of the "artist as a brand" and sets out a clear inventory of the artist's assets -- fans, music and non-music content -- and all the multiple on- and offline platforms for reaching listeners. Once this is established, the idea is to identify suitable content platforms or "highways," which are then weighted according to their importance.
This is pretty much what we've been advocating for some time now on this blog: treat artists as brands and apply the same level of discipline to marketing artists as brands do to their own marketing.

Jumpin' Jack Cash?

Could the Rolling Stones Be the Newest Horse in Live Nation's Stable?

Mick Jagger
Photo: AP

Another exile on Main Street?

In the world of alternative music-business models, Live Nation has blazed a trail in recent months, landing "360 deals" with major acts, including Madonna, Jay-Z and an almost-360 deal (excluding recordings) with U2.

The latest rumor hitting the street is that the Rolling Stones are considering leaving EMI after 31 years and throwing their lot in with Live Nation with a "360 deal" that would incorporate the back catalog (which reportedly earns EMI about $6 million annually), touring income, merchandise and brand partnerships. A report in the British Sunday paper The Observer stated that the band was "just weeks away" from announcing a deal that could also see Universal records getting in on the act by licensing new versions of the catalog from Live Nation.

The Stones camp has denied the story, but, given the band's long-standing and extremely close relationship with Live Nation chairman Michael Cohl (who has produced all of the band's recent tours), it seems highly likely that this will be a done deal shortly.

The only potential spanner in the works is a reported unease amongst Live Nation's senior executives about its 360 strategy and whether the company has been signing up mega-acts too quickly. As we've said before, Live Nation is really going to have to learn to speak the language of brands and manage brand-related businesses if they are really going to get their money's worth out of these deals.

Steve Madden Would Like You to Try on His Headphones

Footwear and Accessory Brand Launches Music Platform

Fashion brand Steve Madden is launching a music platform that will be featured in-store and online, according to a report [sub. required] in today's Billboard.

The platform will apparently be launched under the moniker "Steve Madden Music" and will highlight a different recording artist every other month. The first artist to sign up for this deal is current chart sensation Katy Perry, whose latest single "I Kissed a Girl" raced up the Billboard Hot 100 after selling 173,000 digital downloads this week. Next is upcoming R&B-rap crossover artist artist Little Jackie.

The Billboard report quotes Steve Madden himself as saying, "[The labels are] after the same girl that we're after. Even the mind-set of trying to make a hit shoe or a hit record is the same. People always want to know what's cool. I figured if [Sean "Diddy" Combs] and Russell [Simmons] could get into my business, then I could go into theirs."

The platform will apparently have extensive in-store components, with live performances from the artists at flagship Steve Madden stores, artists' videos appearing on-screen and at point-of-sale within the 70 nationwide stores as well as a significant online presence through a soon-to-be-launched Steve Madden Music website.

Retailers are increasingly getting in on the brand-music act with a number of high-profile promotions in the retail environment, including Urban Outfitters, American Eagle and Tommy Hilfiger, which is in its third year of staging "The Hilfiger Sessions," and in April launched In the non-fashion sector, Whole Foods recently launched its own Artist Discovery Series.

[ (sub. required)]

WPP, Universal Put More Resources Into Brand-Music Partnerships

BrandAmp Goes Down Under

BrandAmp, the 50/50 European joint venture between Universal Music Group and WPP, is expanding internationally with the launch of an office in Sydney, Australia.

BrandAmp was established in London in September 2006 to develop music and brand partnerships between Universal Music Group's artists and WPP's client brands, and it signaled the start of music and brands being taken seriously at the agency and music label corporate levels. At the time of the launch, WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell said, "In a world of media fragmentation, music remains a powerful medium. We see an increasing desire for brands to partner with bands. BrandAmp will allow us to facilitate and manage those partnerships more successfully."

The brand-music and music licensing marketplace is booming across the world and is particularly strong in Autralia, according to a report in Billboard, which broke the story:
" The band-and-brand sector in Australia is experiencing rapid growth. Sean Pickwell, managing director of Sydney-based Waterfront Entertainment Marketing, estimates the sector grew 60% last year and will achieve a similar growth in 2009. He puts its annual revenue at A$12 million to A$15 million ($11.3 million to $14.17 million)."
This concurs with SFS's report from March, which put the global music licensing marketplace at around $3 billion per year and growing rapidly.

SFS predicts that other agency holding companies are eying up this space, but we also think that they'd better move quickly, as a number of start-up ventures that sit between artists and client brands are looking to break out as independent entities.

Come for Natasha Bedingfield, Stay for the Continental Breakfast

W Hotels, MasterCard and Sony BMG Form New Music Partnership

According to a number of reports, Starwood Hotel division W Hotels Worldwide, along with MasterCard Worldwide and Sony BMG Music's Commercial Music Group, are launching W WonderLust Live, an exclusive concert platform featuring established and emerging artists. Guests and local consumers with MasterCard credit cards can book a "W WonderLust Live Package," which will include two tickets to the concert, an exclusive W Hotels/Sony BMG all-access VIP gift bag, drinks, a 3 p.m. checkout and a "Fabulous Suite."

The live performances -- hosted by A-list producer Bryan Michael Cox -- will also be broadcast on W's dedicated video channel, accessible only in W Hotels. Two concerts have taken place already; the inaugural one featuring Natasha Bedingfield, took place at W New York-Union Square on May 19. The second performance was held yesterday at W Los Angeles-Westwood with Irish singer-songwriter Paddy Casey.

Live Nation Studios -- the media company's live recording arm -- has signed on to record select performances and stream them at Some of the music will also be made available on a W Hotels CD, "WonderLust, The Worldwide Tour" produced by Sony BMG.

Previously, Starwood had a similar deal with the label to curate in-house mixes for all of its brands, and a compilation of electro-pop tunes picked for the W Hotels called "Warmth of Cool, Interlude" was released for retail.

Seether Rides Along With Chopper Like Any Other Sponsor

Motorcycle Reality Show Integrates Post-Grunge Outfit as a Featured Brand

The producers of the CMT show "Chopper Challenge" have gone outside their traditional brand sponsors and have, for the first time in a TV show, featured the post–grunge band Seether as just another integrated brand on the show.

In addition to having its image and logo appear on the episode's custom bike, the band gained further exposure by having its members appear in the episode talking about bikes and having its songs "Fake It," "Rise Above This" and "Remedy" played during the show. The "Chopper Challenge" website includes a link to Seether's website, and the finished Seether bike will be donated to a charity of the band's choosing.

The deal put was together by leading entertainment marketing firm GMR, Seether's manager, Stu Sobel of The Firm, and the show's producers, V Entertainment.

From a "behind the scenes" report in Billboard: "V Entertainment Group pays CMT an undisclosed fee to air the show and then sells the advertising that appears during each episode. That advertising is sometimes tied to the brands featured in the show, though in this instance Seether ads were not part of the agreement."

As we commented in last week's post, more and more artists will be taking center stage in a number of broader entertainment-based properties, and this area can only be headed for growth. But the Seether promotion does raise a couple of interesting hypothetical questions:

  • When are we going to see the first artist-funded show, where costs are offset by sponsors/advertisers? SFS can see quite a few artists building financial equity in shows that are derived from their own brand equity.

  • Where are the record labels in all of this? Surely exploiting their artists through TV shows that they have equity in has to be a no-brainer, right?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Material Girl Brings Home More Goodies From 'Hard Candy'
More Licensing Revenues Flow to Madonna

Posted originally by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 06.06.08 @ 11:45 AM

Madonna has gotten a lot of mileage
out of 'Hard Candy.'

Following a slew of recently announced licensing deals, Warner Music International has tied up a multicountry deal with Sony Ericsson whereby, according to a report in Billboard, Madonna's latest album, "Hard Candy," is to be pre-loaded or carried alongside Sony Ericsson handsets across 27 countries. This past April, Samsung pre-loaded content from the album in its devices for the French market, and the success of the roll-out seems to have peaked Sony Ericsson's interest in engineering a similar deal for themselves.

This latest agreement comes on the back of a huge launch campaign for the album in conjunction with Unilever's Sunsilk, which engendered the first ever co-coordinated global launch of a brand campaign with an album launch for a mega-star artist of Madonna's stature.

The release of "Hard Candy" has benefited from a string of international, multimedia initiatives, including wireless operators Verizon Wireless and European-based Vodafone, who teamed up to simulcast a Madonna performance live to mobile phones on their networks. A remix of the single "4 Minutes" has also been made available exclusively via Verizon Wireless in the U.S. and internationally through Vodafone. Overseas, Madonna also signed an exclusive deal with Fuji TV in Japan to license "Miles Away," the expected second single from the album, as the theme for the new drama series "Change."

SFS can only say "Wow, very impressive!" as these deals all appear to give dollars to Madonna but also deliver some significant value for the fans and brands involved. It certainly also sets some fertile ground for Live Nation to sow their Madonna seeds when Madonna joins the books as the first of their superstar signings later this year. Kudos to Warners though for a fine farewell effort.