Thursday, March 21, 2013

Music Celebs Extend Their Brands

Brand image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
It used to be that a celebrity musician was loath to do anything commercial for fear of "selling out."

If you were successful with your music, you risked all of your credibility with your fans if your music appeared in a commercial, or your image was found on a consumer item.

Those days a long gone, as music celebs everywhere do whatever they can to extend their brands. It's a money grab that's now condoned, accepted and even expected by management and fans alike. And all without any stigma whatsoever.

I've posted about musician's private brands and even custom items like toothbrushes and clothing (even Jimi Hendrix!),  but once again we have multiple examples of music celebs reaching way beyond the music that made them famous.

Take for instance, Beyonce and Taylor Swift becoming the new faces of Pepsi and Diet Coke respectively. Depending upon which study you use, these are mostly unhealthy products endorsed by women who exude health.

Then we have Sean "Diddy" Combs and Mark Wahlberg investing in the premium water AQUAhydrate for fit, active party people. At least it's healthy.

Hip hop girl group OMG Girlz are the new spokespeople for Wat-AAH, another premium water product.

Pop-Water, a new flavored low-calorie product (I thought water is supposed to have zero calories) is backed by Lady Gaga manager Troy Carter. Then there's Golnside, a tea product, courtesy of manager Kevin Liles (Nelly, Big Sean, Trey Songz and a dozen others).

The fact of the matter is that success in music is merely a departure point to consumer product success for most artists these days. But can you really blame them?

In the days when "selling out" was considered taboo, artists weren't used to making or spending the kind of money available to them today. And those that did actually make that kind of money in music could have it sustain over long periods of time because the business was healthy, selling more product than ever, and even growing at the time.

Today, with the industry roughly half the size that it was before, success is much more fleeting, and the money that's here today probably won't be there tomorrow, which makes artist's desired to catch whatever financial wave they can more understandable. Plus, management is smarter than ever at exploiting every opportunity and even creating new ones for their artists.

That doesn't mean that some self-aware artists understand that expanding their commerciality beyond their music isn't inherently good for their brand. That still happens, and those artists should be applauded, but even those they will look for products that best fit with their brands, even it they won't be found on a convenience store shelf.

So to all you old school people longing for the "days of artist integrity," get over it. It's a new world. You may not like it, but it's not going back to the way it was any time soon.


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