Dear Mr. Ocean, You’re bi? We hadn’t noticed.

Won’t it be the most predictable, embarrassing thing if the media actually talks about Frank Ocean’s sexuality at the Grammys next year?  Everyone will be over it, right?  I’m writing this on 12.12.12, and it’s my wish to the universe:  Be cool, world.

Let’s face it:  his album, channel ORANGE, would have done just as well this year if he hadn’t “come out” or written that “open love letter” to a dude, or replaced all the pronouns with “she”.  It is an impressive, seamless work written by a truly gifted young man who has no need to prove himself.  His successful songs for others (John Legend, the Biebs) had set the stage for this moment.  However, the publicity around the release of this album made many wonder if his little tumblr coming out party was a stunt.  It was a week before the album dropped.  Was he pressured into it?  Did he feel as though he needed to give his music context?  A compulsion to be honest?  There was a lot of hype coming from a lot of angles, and it catapulted the release and subsequent reviews into a higher profile situation.  It certainly made waves and got a lot of attention from a variety of communities.  But what happened this summer was that the music community supported him and his honesty, even the ones you wouldn’t expect (his colleague Tyler the Creator is allegedly uncomfortable with these things, but he rose to the occasion).  Others (Chris Brown, 50 Cent) may or may not have been so accepting.  But have you listened to this album?  It’s like he’s seeing things from above, telling stories for you to interpret any way you like, neither happy or sad; hopeful or maybe hopeless, full of musical nods and somehow defying genre.

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So the glitter has settled, and he has been nominated for six Grammys.  Everyone always bitches about how the nominations always miss something important, it is too mainstream, blah blah, Of course this is true, get over it.  My hope is that this year, the unpredictable will prevail.  When Frank Ocean takes the stage, as he undoubtedly will, to accept his first Grammy of the night, will it be up to him to bring up his sexuality?  Will it be a non-issue not because of fear, but because of acceptance and love?  The legacy of this album could be one of a breakthrough of tolerance in a resistant musical community that will permeate the industry and perhaps others.  We’ll just have to wait and see what he has to say about it.

Billboard’s 2012 Maximum Exposure

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Billboard’s Maximum Exposure chart ranks the 75 most effective platforms in music discovery. Essentially this chart rates the best ways to generate buzz and drive sales of a music release for established stars. The panel who creates this list is made up of prominent artist managers, record label executive, publicists and agents.

They compare various platforms such as TV advertisements, Super Bowl performances, coverage on Fox’s Glee, YouTube videos, social media activity, and many other platforms that help generate excitement to an artist’s release.

The top ten promotional platforms for this year where:

1.  A Superbowl halftime-show performance

2.  A Grammy Awards performance

3.  Homepage placement on iTunes

4.  Placement in TV commercial that runs during a special event

5.  A performance on Saturday Night Live

6.  An artist’s first arena-level headlining tour

7.  Placement in a high-rotation TV ad for a leading car company

8.  A performance during the Country Music Association Awards

9.  Placement in a high-rotation TV ad for a leading shoe brand

10.  A performance on Coachella’s mainstage

Simon Cowell is trying to launch X Factor USA winners using maximum exposure platforms, last year’s winner performed during half time at the Superbowl and this year’s winner will be performing at the Grammy’s next year.

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Sources: http://persisholdings.com/news/billboard-taps-golnar-khosrowshahi-for-maximum-exposure-issue/

Simon Cowell

Since my blogs have been focused on X Factor, it’s only fitting to write about the man behind the show.

Simon Cowell’s earnings as of May 2012, according to Forbes was $90 million! That makes him 9th in the money rankings, behind heavyweights like Oprah at no. 1, Michael Bay at 2, Steven Spielberg at 3, Jerry Bruckheimer at 4, Dr. Dre at 5, Tyler Perry at 6, Howard Stern at 7, and James Patterson at 8. What surprised me was that he is ahead of people like George Lucas and Donald Trump. I knew Simon had money but I didn’t think he was up in the top 10! He comes in at no. 18 on the celebrity 100, no.19 in TV/ radio, 28 in press, 79 in social and 84 in web.

Simon got his break into the music industry as an A&R through his dad’s connections (his dad was a music industry executive at EMI). He has created his wealth through television mainly. His time as a judge on American Idol helped him break into the US where he was known for his bluntness and insults. He started his X Factor franchise which has spread across the world and has signed chart-topping acts such as Leona Lewis and One Direction. His other show Britain’s Got Talent has generated other Got Talent shows and the show found acts like Susan Boyle who made a global impact. He also has numerous other shows. All of the acts from his shows are signed to his label Syco which is affiliated with Sony BMG.

Simon Cowell can smell money from a mile away. Where he sees an opportunity he jumps right in and makes a “killing.” He milks that particular project (or cow) until there is absolutely nothing left (e.g. X Factor UK, it really is dying). His most recent project is the Sony X headphones, yes, Simon Cowell has turned his hand to the consumer electronic market. This range of headphones has been seen at every possible opportunity during the X Factor USA shows and they are the official headphone partners of the talent show. His reason for making headphones is simply because he wanted something better than what is in the market today, as if there aren’t enough celebrities making headphones!

Another deal that he stuck is the partnership with Pepsi. Pepsi recently announced that it will be offering the X Factor USA winner a $5million Syco record deal AND a Grammy ad video!! This video will debut during the 2013 Grammy Awards which is the perfect opportunity to launch an artist’s career, on one of the biggest nights in the music calendar. Last years winner (Melanie Amaro) starred in a Pepsi commercial for the Super Bowl which was big but this is not only big but better as it’s music’s biggest night and introduces you to the whose who in music. Pepsi is one of music’s most powerful brands second only to Coca-Cola on Billboard’s 2012 Maximum Exposure chart which ranks the 75 most effective platforms in music discovery (something I will be writing about in my next blog). Pepsi have invested $60 million in X Factor marketing support alone.

Although X Factor UK numbers are dwindling week by week, his American version has been renewed for another season by Fox. It looks like Simon will be laughing all the way to the bank for a few more years.

Sources:

http://www.forbes.com/profile/simon-cowell/

http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/branding/exclusive-pepsi-offering-new-x-factor-winner-1007994942.story#6iyFIe7dSX7hOgox.99