Friday, August 22, 2008

Hip-Hip-Hop You Don't Stop

Rappers Earn Top Dollar as True 360 Businesses Evolve

50 Cent
Photo: AP
The perception that linking with brands was "selling out" has long vanished from the hip hop-world, and entertainers now have morphed into "enter-preneurs" that create new brands, businesses and revenues streams from the base of their core entertainment brand.

While Jay-Z has had significant press from his $150 million Live Nation deal, 50 cent has been accumulating his own pool of hip-hop cash. According to a recent Forbes hip-hop package, Fiddy has raked in over $150 million in the last 12 months, with at least $100 million of it coming from his stake in Glacéau, the parent company of Vitamin Water, which was sold to to Coca-Cola. He also has the G-Unit clothing line and record label, films, videogames and a stack of platinum albums, but perhaps most intriguing is a rumored partnership with South African mining billionaire Patrice Motsepe, who has been in discussions with 50 about a JV that will create 50-branded platinum for the necks and fingers of the bling crowd.

Whatever one thinks about the real value of these properties, the fact of the matter is that these types of 360 degree business models are ones that play to the strengths of the artist-brand and deliver products, services and content that is bang-on what the target audience wants. Whilst many traditional labels are talking a good 360 game, none have really managed to move beyond record sales, concert tickets and merchandising as a way of generating more revenue.

To quote from Paul Resnikoff's recent "Parting Shot" in Digital Music News, "the moneymaking possibilities are only limited by the creativity of the entrepreneurs involved."

Acting Like a Virgin Is a Good Idea

Mobile Operator Puts an Increasing Focus on Music Events

Virgin Mobile USA announced it's sponsoring a free Bon Jovi concert designed to celebrate the Philadelphia Soul's Arena Bowl XXII win earlier this month. Jon Bon Jovi just happens to be the majority owner of the team, and this is what we like to call "synergy."

Along with the sponsorship, Virgin Mobile USA and the Philadelphia Soul are finalizing a new partnership that will run through 2009.

This is the latest in a run of music- and entertainment-based initiatives that the mobile-phone operator has been pursuing as part of its strategy to increase customer uptake and loyalty in North America.

Virgin has pursued a similar strategy in the U.K. and Australia, where it has had a series of highly successful V Festivals that have become a staple of the live summer music scene in both countries. Here in North America, Virgin's association with live music is reaching a similar status, with shows featuring high-profile acts such as The Who and Red Hot Chili Peppers in Vancouver last year and this week's show in Baltimore, which is set to feature the Foo Fighters, Wilco, Jack Johnson, Bob Dylan and Kanye West, among others.

As SFS has commented before, mobile platforms are increasingly becoming a life raft for the music industry and a platform that demands increasing focus and attention. A report from eMarketer predicts worldwide mobile-music revenue will grow from last year's figure of $2.4 billion to $13 billion by 2012. According to a report in Billboard, $8 billion of this will come from ringtone and ringback sales and $5 billion will be generated from full-track downloads, with ad-supported programs likely to grow from $42 million today to $1.5 billion by 2012.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Musicians Throw Down Their Songs for Peace

Annie Lennox, Bryan Adams to Perform at Peace One Day Show

The global peace organization Peace One Day has announced a star-studded concert celebrating Peace Day 2008 that will feature Natasha Bedingfield and Grammy-award-winning singers Annie Lennox and Bryan Adams. At the event, which will be held Sept. 9 at the Nokia Theatre Times Square, the musicians will perform acoustic sets interspersed with video messages of peace from celebrities and artists such as Jude Law and Lenny Kravitz, plus there will be additional performances and speeches from yet-to-be-announced luminaries.

A similarly high-profile event will take place in the U.K. at London's Royal Albert Hall on World Peace Day, Sept. 21, which is now officially designated by every member state of the United Nations as an annual day of global cease-fire and nonviolence. Last year on this date, Peace One Day's campaigning helped to create a 24-hour cease-fire in Afghanistan that resulted in 1.4 million Afghan children being vaccinated against polio.

Although this blogger isn't directly involved in planning these concerts, he did help book an unannounced British band for the U.K. show and managed to speak with Peace One Day's founder, Jeremy Gilley, in the process. Gilley told Songs for Soap he's looking to take awareness of the cause to another level in 2009 with charity concerts planned for Paris and Mumbai, and he's put out a call to get more corporate support to keep the momentum going. "We are very interested in working with consumer brands and corporations to keep raising the awareness of Peace Day, which will help save lives and create a movement of global unity," Gilley said.

The two events, which will be broadcast globally this fall, have been made possible by the support of some major brand sponsors, including Ben & Jerry's, which launched a new flavored ice cream called Imagine Whirled Peace earlier this year and will be backing the roll-out of a world peace education program to every school in North America. Puma will continue its "One Day One Goal" program launched last year, which encourages people all over the world to celebrate Peace Day through a shared passion for sports. Longtime supporters Coca-Cola, Ecover, British Airways and British financial firm Execution will also back the movement this year.

Nelly and Kylie Offer Packaged Pheromones

Welcome to Sex Week on SFS

Photo: Anthony Cutajar

Sean John could certainly have picked a Fatter Joe for its underwear campaign.

Howabout we make this sex week on SFS? Wonderful. Here's a couple recent items about how rapper Nelly and petite pop star Kylie Minogue are using their scientifically enhanced god-given gifts to move product.

Minogue is launching a new perfume called Sexy Darling with beauty company Coty. The fragrance, which launched in the U.K. today, has been created for the "modern, sexy, self-confident woman," and the pop princess herself says in the release, "I firmly believe that sexiness is all to do with your state of mind. Some people radiate an inner sense of self-esteem and beauty that's irresistible."

Yes, well quite! A sentiment that we often feel at SFS.

Meanwhile, back on these shores, Nelly will be modeling the Sean John underwear and loungewear line, which will include briefs, boxer-briefs, boxers, undershirts, pajamas and robes, among other unmentionables. According to a post on Celebrity Brands, Sean "Diddy" Combs said, "Nelly is the quintessential definition of the Sean John man, he has the attitude, the swagger and most of all, the physique that our customers can both aspire and relate to. And let's be honest, all of the ladies out there are going to be thanking us for this campaign. The images are so strong; they speak for themselves."

Just be thankful that, for these two products, SFS won't be filming any product-testing experiments. Could get ugly.