Hotline Bling On Top of The World

For the past week, the internet has been set ablaze with comments, critiques, and some incredible parodies of hip hop artist, Drake’s latest video for his single, “Hotline Bling”, which was released by Apple Music on October 19th. Even Mike Tyson couldn’t resist showing off his rather ‘colorful’ interpretation of the video.

But beyond the vines and buzzfeed lists lies a truly prolific result. Billboard reports that, “Drake is the top musical act in the U.S. on the Billboard 100 chart.” The chart is an aggregate of all of Billboard’s most significant charts. It factors in top 100 songs, album sales, and the social 50–the latter of which, purely denotes how much an artist is trending on social media channels. Among the composite that constitutes Drake’s position at the top of this chart includes digital song sales, up 43 percent, and social reaction (the Mike Tyson’s of the world), which has risen 78 percent.

Since the conception of his hip hop career, Drake’s antics have always put him in the limelight of internet banter. My initial supposition then, was this must aid his live sales. Naturally, facebook fangirls would kill to be able to put Drake snogging Madonna in their Snapstory. Or Drake remarking on his jewish upbringing on their instagram. A genius of marketing, I never thought this would actually transcend into actual music sales. I was wrong. “Hotline Bling” has already been downloaded 153,000 times according to Nielsen. And his mixtape, If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late, sold 495,000 copies in it’s first week!

To frame this in the context of my hip hop themed blogs, where many hip hop artists are struggling, Drake, who is at his core a rapper is making serious money on all fronts in the volatile 21st century music industry. He may be a source of many laughs across the great expanse of the internet, but Drake’s recent domination of the music industry as a whole is no joke. Watch the original “Hotline Bling” video below:

Source: http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/6745217/drake-returns-number-1-billboard-artist-100-demi-lovato

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6738389/adele-justin-bieber-drake-one-direction-first-week-2015-sales

Madonna & Child

In case you haven’t checked any of your social media accounts recently, this happened:

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Don’t worry, Drake feels the same way you probably do- highly uncomfortable. The unwarranted kiss happened during a performance of her new song at Coachella this past weekend. Of course, we’re used to Madonna being overly sensational…

…with her getting vocal on Instagram…

…her “British accent”…

…and her no-holds-barred attitude…

…so we really shouldn’t be all surprised that she did something like making out with Drake on stage at Coachella without his permission. And yet, while I’m not necessarily surprised, this is certainly unsettling. Not that some of her previous antics weren’t- but even glancing back at the Instagram post, it not only contradicts much of what she’s stood for in the past, it also totally demolishes any path for women’s rights she’s begun to pave.

Yeah, I said that. Putting out songs in support of teen pregnancy and confidently strutting around in her iconic cone-cupped lingerie sets onstage, there shouldn’t be a doubt in your mind that Madonna is proud to be a woman, and embraces it any way she can- even if that means her own…Madonna-y way. But this smooch with Mr. Degrassi turns the tables. In an age where consent means everything, Madonna completely demolished any progress that’s been made.

And shame on her for that! Whether or not Drake ended up being okay with it in the end has nothing to do with the fact that she shouldn’t have done it in the first place. His reaction makes it clear that he had neither an idea nor intention to engage in a kiss with her- and yet she seized her moment, on stage in front of thousands of Californian music lovers, and did something “so Madonna!”

Her antics in the past may have been entertaining, in their own way. Perhaps even admirable, for the courage it must have taken her to do something so publicly. But this matter comes down to consent.

And, in a world where it’s usually the other way around- men violating the consent of women- this action is also perplexing. Though I’m wording that a bit extremely, and the meat of that topic is for another blog, another time, violating consent can be something as little as hugging someone who never asked for it and doesn’t want it. Which just so happens to be all too common of an occurrence in the star-studded world: Men grabbing female companions for a glamour shot, sneaking kisses on their cheeks at award shows, anything they can. So why would Madonna turn around and do something she’s been seemingly fighting against with everything else she’s been doing?

Perhaps in her eyes, she sees this as a power move. Perhaps she sees it as absolutely nothing. We can’t know for sure until someone asks her. Just don’t tell Britney. She might get jealous.

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Shoutout to Andrew for contributing the idea for this post.

 

 

 

“Bey Great!”–Beyoncé Releases Surprise Visual Album

beyonce-booklet-main-picThe internet went into a frenzy on midnight, Friday the 13th when music icon Beyoncé Knowles-Carter released an unexpected self-titled, visual album with absolutely NO PROMO OR MARKETING!! Her eager fans (The BeyHive) shut down iTunes while waiting to purchase her album for $15.99 (14 songs/17 music videos).  The digital version was released today, but physical copies (CD/DVD formats) will not be available in stores until December 21st  (Just in time for the holiday season!–A great stocking stuffer for Bey fans!)

It’s amazing that no one caught wind of her project and that it was kept a secret! Beyoncé managed to film 17 videos around the world from Houston to New York City to Paris, and Sydney to Rio de Janeiro, all before the album’s release. Impressive!

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Track listing:
01 Pretty Hurts
02 Haunted
03 Drunk In Love [ft. Jay Z]
04 Blow
05 No Angel
06 Partition
07 Jealous
08 Rocket
09 Mine [ft. Drake]
10 XO
11Flawless [ft. Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche]
12 Superpower [ft. Frank Ocean]
13 Heaven
14 Blue [ft. Blue Ivy]

Here’s what Bey had to say about her new visual album:

“I see music, it’s more than just what I hear. When I’m connected to something, I immediately see a visual or a series of images that are tied to a feeling or an emotion, a memory from my childhood, thoughts about life, my dreams or my fantasies. And they’re all connected to music.”

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“I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it. I am bored with that. I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans. There’s so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans. I felt like I didn’t want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans.”–Beyoncé

Check out an more in-depth exclusive video that Bey released in her own words about her new album, as well as previews of ALL of the videos that she has made available to her fans from her official YouTube channel.

Some of my faves so far: “Drunk In Love” ft. Jay-Z, Flawless,” and “Blow”

To get a sneak peep at the album booklet photos click here!
Purchase the album now on iTunes!

Bey Great!

Strategy: Authenticity

Dangers in product partnerships 

The Chill

Without providing any specifics, there has recently been a growing trend of misuse surrounding the word authenticity and its applicability to artist branding. Increasingly often, music business professionals are throwing this word around without feeling the substance of its meaning.

I’m mainly talking about people taking the concept of an artist is a business too far, pairing them up with brands as if they were no different from a car manufacturer or software developer. Art – arguably the core of our business – is exceptionally human in its nature. It’s effectiveness [and thus, it’s profitability] hinges the intangible responses of real people. There’s a remarkable intangibility present in the biz since people all have distinct emotions; music is particularly non-categorical. 

Nevertheless, the cold grip of business has seeped its way invasively into the personal space of artistic expression. Continuing, most people have the capacity to see this contaminant immediately. This is the chill. It’s easy to feel and nearly impossible to avoid unless you take a second look at how you approach artistry and branding.

Please test yourself – watch this.

This is Taylor Swift’s particularly cumbersome attempt to appear excited about her brand partnership with Diet Coke. A board room of suits spent some amount of time with a whiteboard and some coffee mixing and matching target markets and brainstorming where more logos could possibly be squeezed. Draw a few conclusions for yourself – what did this accomplish for either Coca-Cola or Swift?

Branding doesn’t need to be cold; it doesn’t need to be unnatural. In fact, the objective of a brand alliance [a cross-collateralization of constituencies, resources, etc.] is within reach without the need of a focus group or a contract. 

Not All Is Lost
Sigur Ros 

This documentary Heima [an Icelandic word meaning “Home”] chronicles the story of Sigur Ros’s return to Iceland, their home country, to perform a series of free surprise concerts. The film clearly convey’s the source of the band’s success both domestically and as an internationally renowned indie act. Internally, Sigur Ros truly is authentic in their approach to creating music. None of the four members concerns himself with fame or money, instead they collectively form a band driven by creativity and a love for music. They’ve developed a position based on their pride and connection with the culture of their country, refusing to alter their actions to appeal to target marketsIn doing so, they’ve achieved one of the greatest brand partnerships imaginable; one with the entire nation of Iceland

The main objective of a brand partnership – a symbiotic win-win – is present here, minus the chill.

The Lesson Here Being…

False authenticity  [much like that originating from the more outdated, misguided conference rooms across the music industry] creates awkwardness and chill while simply staying devoted to natural human passions creates much more desirable outcomes. An artist that ignores the temptation to treat him or herself as a business instead of, perhaps, a commercially conscientious artist will maintain a certain competitive edge in the days to come as people become more and more fed up with corporate conjecture. It’s clear to me to which artists I resonate most – with which artists I feel most connected. Conclusively, I can say that Drake doesn’t make me want to drink Sprite, and The Dropkick Murphy’s do make me miss Boston.

I suppose I can also say that Run DMC makes Adidas look pretty cool.

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012 MY FINAL THOUGHTS/WRAP-UP

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012 MY FINAL THOUGHTS/WRAP-UP

Just to refresh our minds, here is the quick rundown of our top hip hop entrepreneurs of 2012 according to Forbes “Cash Kings of 2012”:

  1. Dr. Dre – $110 Million
  2. P. Diddy – $45 Million
  3. Jay-Z – $38 Million
  4. Kanye West – $35 Million
  5. Lil Wayne – $27 Million
  6. Drake – $20.5 Million
  7. Birdman – $20 Million
  8. Nicki Minaj – $15.5 Million
  9. Eminem – $15 Million

Source: http://www.forbes.com/special-report/2012/0905_hip-hop-cash-kings.html

The reason why I chose this topic for my blog: As a future entrepreneur in the music/entertainment industry and also a big fan of hip hop music, I thought this (blogging for our artist management class) was the perfect opportunity to research about hip hop entrepreneurs and their different entrepreneurial business ventures.

My favorite entrepreneur on the list: No disrespect to Dr. Dre and his ridiculously successful business venture with his Beats by Dre headphones, but I thought overall Jay-Z had the most diverse and long-term growth potential portfolio. His partnerships with the Brooklyn Nets, New York Yankees, Live Nation and Duracell (just to name a few) are unparalleled and I can only imagine where his next investments will be. I honestly think Jay-Z will be able to top both Diddy and Dre in the next couple years.

And speaking of Jay-Z, I wanted to share a quick little video of a cute grandma not recognizing who the $475 million man is on the subway next to her: .

Who I see making top 9 next year that is not on the list: Although Forbes has him listed at number 15 this year with $7.5 Million, I honestly think Curtis Jackson, also known as 50 Cent or Fiddy, is never out of the equation. He actually lead the entrepreneur list back in 2008 (http://www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/00017719.html) with $150 Million, so knowing him, he is bound to make some big moves this coming year. Also, one of the main reasons why I chose 50 Cent is because word on the street says he traveled to Dubai this year to sell his new SMS wireless headphone product that is nearly indestructible. Of course, that is not the only reason why I chose Fiddy, but I see (expect) great things ahead for this former G-Unit member. Here is the link to his newest business venture:

Last words: Once again, thank you taking this 10-blog journey with me. I hope you found my blogs somewhat entertaining, interesting and/or resourceful to you.

And if you’re new to my blog, please check out my previous detailed blogs on each of the top 9 hip hop entrepreneurs of 2012.

*Please remember to like, comment and share my blogs with others!

Thank you.

By: Aaron (Duke)

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #6 DRAKE (RE-UPLOADED!)

NOTE: I apologize for this blog being out of order (accidentally skipped from #7 to #5). I just realized for some reason #6 was not uploaded/deleted. I’m sorry for the inconvenience!

The purpose of this blog is to inform the class of America’s “Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012” and the various business ventures in different industries that contributed to their individual successes.

(RE-UPLOADED!) Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #6 DRAKE

Name: Aubrey Drake Graham

Stage Name(s): Drake

Age: 26

Forbes Hip Hop’s Top Earners List: #6 of 9

How Much??? $20.5 Million

Drake is a very unique case. Unlike the other artists who ventured out into other industries to increase their revenue streams, he earned most of his income purely through touring and selling records in the music industry this year.

The few endeavors outside of the music industry:

  1. Sprite endorsement. Sprite wanted to have a campaign where teens had a platform where they can express their creativity through music and film and chose Drake to be the face of the “The Spark” project:  http://www.billboard.com/news/drake-teams-with-sprite-for-spark-campaign-1004067025.story#/news/drake-teams-with-sprite-for-spark-campaign-1004067025.story
  2. Kodak sponsorship deal with Drake with “Drake So Kodak” campaigns to sell their new camera product. Here is a clip of a “personal” commercial directly to his fans:
  3. Featured on NBA 2K12 video game commercial by 2K Sports (he was actually featured on the soundtrack for NBA 2K11). Here is the link to the commercial: . He actually reps the Miami Heat, which I’m not very fond of (Lakers!).

But the main source of his income comes from touring. More specifically, his Club Paradise tour, which was the most successful hip hop tour of 2012, grossed over $42 million dollars. It consisted of 60 shows all over the North America and Europe. Link: http://thatgrapejuice.net/2012/07/winning-drakes-club-paradise-tour-pulls-42-million-worldwide/

In addition to his touring success, his 2011 CD album “Take Care” was the 9th  most sold albums in 2012 according to Neilson (http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/news/id.20336/title.drakes-take-care-in-the-top-10-most-sold-albums-of-2012), selling over 500,000 copies mid year of 2012.

It’s always great to see an artist profiting from music-related sales, especially in this digital age/pirating music industry.

Drake is the 6th most influential and successful hip hop entrepreneur in 2012.

(#5 and #4 have been uploaded already! Thank you for tuning in!)

 By: Aaron Kim (Duke)

Other sources: http://www.forbes.com/special-report/2012/0905_hip-hop-cash-kings.html

*Sources are provided within the post.