MMPR FOCUS: HOW THE NEW MUSIC MOGULS SUCCEED VIA THEIR OWN RULES…

How do you succeed in an industry that faces constant disruption?

The music industry has been asking itself this question ever since Napster crashed the party. As it turns out, elite musicians such as Rihanna and Taylor Swift, who routinely earn millions year after year, have been providing answers all along. They write their own rules for success, including a willingness to use their music as a springboard to build resilient brands that transcend the industry. Call them the new music moguls.

To better understand how the new music moguls roll, David Deal recently examined the artists who appear regularly on the annual Forbes list of highest-paid musicians, as well as a few who will certainly make the 2016 list later this year. The 31 names on the 2015 list made huge bucks, starting with Katy Perry, with $135 million earned. The lowest ranking musicians, Dr. Dre and Maroon 5, made $33 million each — not a bad haul even for those at the bottom rung.

The new music moguls matter not just because they make money — although their financial gains certainly constitute a yardstick by which their success is measured — but also because they are willing to adapt to a changing industry. As Katy Perry told Forbes, “Music has changed. The record is that launching pad for all kinds of other creative branches.” Recorded music in and of itself does not pay the bills unless an artist knows how to play ball with brands.

The industry’s biggest stars build their fan bases with music, but they make their money elsewhere. The Jay Zs, Taylor Swifts, and Justin Timberlakes cash in from touring, forming endorsement deals with brands, and by launching their own business ventures. They treat their own music as branded content hustled across multiple media to raise their profiles and support their tours.

And who can blame them? Consumers just don’t buy enough recorded music anymore to support the performers we say we love. The old rules, such as releasing an album and then touring to support the album, don’t work anymore. And while the new music moguls were not the first musicians to dip their toes into the world of endorsement deals and merchandising, they’ve certain taken these practices to a new level.

Let’s take a closer look at three examples.

Beyoncé and Katy Perry: Hustling Songs like Content

Katy Perry made her $135 million in 2015 from touring (playing 126 shows and earning $2 million per venue) and endorsing products such as Claire’s, Coty, and CoverGirl. And Beyonce may earn as much as $250 million by the time her Formation tour wraps up July 31. Beyoncé and Katy Perry both demonstrates how stars treat music as branded content that fuels a number of broader endeavors.

For instance during the 2015 holiday season, Katy Perry debuted her song “Every Day Is a Holiday” in an H&M commercial and streamed the track into H&M stores. She also modeled the H&M holiday collection. Why? Because she was releasing her own line of holiday-themed onesies. What better way to draw attention to her own line of apparel?

But Beyoncé took song hustling to a whole new level when she released “Formation” during Super Bowl 50. She relied on two important media: video, where she could accumulate millions of views within a day of its release, and the Super Bowl 50 halftime show, where she could command a global platform. And she took every advantage of the opportunity by unleashing a controversial song that gained her so much media attention that she was out trending Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump on Google for several days following the Super Bowl.

Why would one of the world’s most powerful musicians, whose net worth exceeds $250 million, release a song that anyone can stream for free? Because her Formation World Tour is just around the corner, and “Formation” is a perfect advertisement for the tour. Controversy creates conversation. And conversation creates curiosity. It’s no coincidence that the Formation World Tour was selling out in venues across the United States immediately when tickets went on sale after the song was released.

Not a bad rate of return for a song.

Rihanna: The Art of the Co-Brand

Musicians and brands have been cozying up to each other for decades. But new music moguls such as Rihanna are going well beyond the time-honored practice of hawking products or accepting money for tour endorsements. They’re creating relationships that re-imagine the role of the brand and the artist.

For instance, Rihanna’s $25 million relationship with Samsung puts the corporate conglomerate in the role of music distributor. When Rihanna released her new album on January 28, she found a way to go platinum and make money within 15 hours: Samsung bought 1 million copies of the album and gave them away. For Rihanna and Samsung, the album going platinum is not about record sales — it’s about creating a moment that earns attention for two giant brands at a time when attention is currency, as Brian Solis has noted. And Samsung is also sponsoring her World Tour, where the real money is made.

On the other hand, Rihanna’s relationship with Puma takes her personal brand in a different direction completely. Rihanna had already branched out beyond music with the release of her own fragrance line. She cracked the sportswear fashion industry when Puma named her creative director for its women’s collections, thus updating a cobranding model that Jay Z and Reebok started in 2003. The news helped re-contextualise Rihanna’s personal brand into the realm of style and fitness (just as fashion has done for hip-hop stars for years) although how much money she makes from the relationship is unknown (I doubt the sum is insignificant). After making headlines for her music, she was appearing in publications such as Vogue. Months later, it became apparent that the appointment was no gimmick. Her limited edition Creeper collection was credited with boosting Puma’s quarterly earnings beyond expectations. And Puma is a sponsor of her world tour too.

Rihanna’s transformation into a global fashion and music brand is now complete. And it’s a wise move. In the fickle world of music, you are only as good as your last YouTube video. By expanding beyond music, Rihanna has diversified her brand and created more revenue streams, as a smart conglomerate should.

Hustle and Flow

Creating innovative relationships with brands. Hustling content everywhere. Those are among the lessons that the music moguls teach any marketer, inside and outside the music industry. The moguls have many other lessons to share, which is discussed in a recently published ebook, The New Music Moguls. The biggest lesson of all, though, is this: in a disrupted industry, you need to change your assumptions before someone changes them for you.

Credit: David Deal | BrianSolis.com

Twitter: @ModeMaisonPR

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FIVE THINGS TO LEARN FROM STANLEY ENOW’S KING KONG VIDEO…

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Stanley Enow‘s King Kong video; a collaboration with Nigeria’s DJ Neptune brought to life by Ghana’s David Nicol-Sey was finally released online yesterday evening amidst great curiousity from his fans and onlookers alike. With almost 10,000 views in its first day, it reveals how long awaited this video was and how much Stanley Enow continues to be a sensation on the Cameroon music scene.

So with our PR, branding and marketing eyes, here are a few tips to learn from the recently released video:-

1) Think Professional: Your personal behaviour is paramount to the long term success of your business and Stanley Enow always takes a professional approach to his work which is noticed in all he does.

2) Think Image: Your brand is one of the most important factors for your eventual success. It’s the culmination of your identity, packaged and presented in a consistent way that’s pleasing, familiar, and attractive to your prospective and recurring audiences. Being a music artist, Stanley Enow‘s recognisable brand is his physical appearance/image which is always carefully and meticulously represented.

3) Think Business: Speaking from a Cameroon perspective, the music scene is especially seen as a platform to create enjoyment and fun and only a select few  – Petit Pays, Richard Bona, Manu Dibango to name these have really shown what one can achieve when one adds a business focus to one’s talent. Stanley Enow is well aware about the opportunities his popularity can bring and has taken the business side of Cameroon music one step further. From Hein Père tee shirts (which launched his brand as the biggest urban clothing brand in Cameroon), we now have Motherland branded sweatshirts (in collaboration with Idle Park Clothing), branded headphones, branded chains (in gold and silver) and as seen on the video branded drinks…coming soon? Stay tuned *winking*

4) Think to Sell a Dream: Stanley Enow understands the expectations of his audience and is not contented by merely releasing a song which is the product. He seeks to sell a dream of hope, excellence, success, possibility, to his fans. How does King Kong sell a dream? The panoramic shots of the villa, the nature shots coupled with the antique cars as well as Stanley Enow‘s overall fashion styling – the audience is thrown into a captivating world where there is luxury, there is beauty in the surroundings as well as the choice of shot angles, and there is also a play on the viewers mind like a dream with the slow rewind and playback of certain scenes…

5) Think Simple: Keep it K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid with your methodology and plans and remain humble – you will not go wrong!

Watch the video here…huhhh!!

Twitter/Instagram: @StanleyEnow

Facebook: Stanley Enow Official