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Business - Written by on Monday, July 7, 2008 14:48 - 2 Comments

Forget the Record Labels – I’m signing with Nike and P&G

I must admit – I was caught off-guard and even found it comical when I heard that Rihanna was lauching her own line of umbrellas (or should I say, um-ber-ellas) and I found the song Air Force Ones pathetic – but the blurring of lines between ”music” and “promotional piece” is seemingly here to stay.

An increasing number of artists are now signing recording deals with consumer product companies such as Nike, Red Bull and Procter & Gamble, who are acting as de facto record companies - finding, funding, promoting and in cases even distributing new music.  In an effort to promote various product lines, these companies have now begun to look outside of their core businesses for a new way to get their brands “out there.”

An early leader in this movement is TAG records.   Launched in April, TAG is a joint venture supported by P&G and led by hip hop mogul Jermaine Dupri, which takes its name from TAG body spray, a former Gillette brand that is entrenched in a battle against Unilever’s AXE in the highly-competitive teen market.

While collaborating with artists for short-term promotional pieces is nothing new, a number of companies are taking their relationship with artists to the next level, and early signs point to a winning relationship for both sides involved.  Dupri is very pleased with the budget provided by P&G, claiming “You can’t get this type of marketing budget. There are endorsement deals, but not like this.”  Artists appear to benefit by receiving both an up-front payment as well a royalty agreement that outpaces what is offered by the big labels.

So far, Nike-commissioned Better Than I’ve Ever Been has succeeded by bringing together hip hop royalty Kanye West, Rakim, Nas and KRS-One, earning popular acclaim and a Grammy Nomination over the past year. Some big label execs are refuting the success of this new model with the age-old “this model wouldn’t work if these artists weren’t already so popular because of our help” argument. If artists are receiving more support (promotional/marketing expertise AND money), and at the end of the day, most consumers do not you care where the music is “coming from,” is this a business model that’s here to stay or a flash in the pan fad?


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Derek Pokora
Jul 8, 2008 10:00

Just think, a few years ago people called Moby a sell-out for distributing songs from his album Play for commercials.

Leave it to the heads of the antiquated music industry to take the wrong perspective. Instead of whining while sinking, wouldn’t it make more sense to evaluate new models of production. More and more artists are becoming known, not through the record companies, but through independent marketing and other alternative streams.

Ok, so I’m not personally a big fan of mainstream music and I do care about where it’s coming from. When music that wins a Grammy Award is commissioned by Nike, I shudder. When the inspirational origin comes from a marketing campaign, I severely doubt the integrity of the music. However, this doesn’t mean that musicians (dare I call some of them) should be limited to one revenue stream and should be locked into terrible contracts with record execs who can’t see the forest for the trees.

Wikinomics » Blog Archive » The Wikinomics Roundup: Week in Review
Jul 14, 2008 0:31

[...] July 07, 2008… Ian Da Silva went trend spotting: Forget the Record Labels – I’m signing with Nike and P&G An increasing number of artists are now signing recording deals with consumer product companies [...]

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