The Blurring Borders Of Music And Advertising: P&G Starts A Record Label With Def Jam

from the soap-opera dept

For a while now, we've been pointing out that people in both the advertising and content businesses need to recognize that they're both in the same business. All advertising is content, and all content is advertising -- whether intentional or not. The latest example of this is pointed out by reader lavi d, who points us to a clip from NPR's All Things Considered about how Procter & Gamble has teamed up with Def Jam records to create a new record label: Tag Records, which is connected to the P&G product Tag Body Spray.

Rather than bringing on a big name star to "endorse" its product, Tag Records has signed a relative unknown, and is basically promoting both this new musician, Q, and the body spray at the same time. The music doesn't necessarily directly promote the body spray, but the promotions go hand in hand, and there is no real border between the content and the advertising. If the content itself is good content, it doesn't much matter. And, it appears that other brands are following suit. The radio clip notes that the energy drink Red Bull is apparently building its own studio to do the same thing. To some extent, it's no surprise that Def Jam would recognize this as a direction to go in: we pointed out in the past how a bunch of hip hop music execs were way ahead of the curve in recognizing new business models where the music itself is part of the promotion for something else.

And here, once again, we're seeing a totally new business model for the music business. Suddenly the success of the musicians on these labels isn't as much about selling music as it is in getting the music out there to promote other products as well. This doesn't mean (as I'm sure some angry commenters will imply) that all music will soon have some sort of consumer packaged goods connection -- but it shows, once again, that new business models emerge, and those business models will ensure that plenty of good content continues to show up. Because, if the music put out by these record labels suck, then it won't do much good for anyone: the consumer goods they're connected to, the musicians or the labels.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 12:26pm

    Leave it to P&G

    They are not the all time kings of advertising for nothing. Personally advertising is about the only way a "record company" is a viable investment these days . . . in my opinion. Certainly these little vanity lables are nothing new, but to have one that focuses on a marketing brand, instead of an artistic brand (like the Rolling Stones Island Records, or Zeppelins Swan Song label for example) seems new and somehow dissapointing.

     

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  2.  
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    Chet Kuhn (profile), Aug 19th, 2008 @ 12:42pm

    I hate to make this comparison...

    ...but this feels eerily similar to conversations about the business model changes going on in the energy sector. Over there, every one is looking for the *ONE* thing that is going to replace oil, and are slowly learning that the oil economy is going to be replaced by a multitude of energy sources, not just one like we're used to.

    And the parallels to the music industry are striking in this respect. Everyone is looking for the *ONE* replacement for the old (and now broken) business model of the RIAA, but the reality is that there will be many, many smaller business models that begin to make up a new music industry.

    And in both of these examples, the end result will be positive for the whole community and allow for greater opportunity, even though it will prove to be painful for the current heavyweights whose business model is no longer relevant.

    And when advertisers realize that content=advertising when done correctly, it will continue to open even more possibilities for business models that went unexplored before.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 12:54pm

    Nothing new

    This doesnt really surprise me. Hasnt anybody noticed the amount of product placement in mainstream Rap. Nelly had to songs about nike products air force one's and jordans. I would be surprised who you find sponsoring him. Creating record labels was just the next logical step, cuts out the middle man.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Leave it to P&G

    If we acknowledge that the music industry is making more money than ever from a plethora of sources of income, and we acknowledge that there is value in actually recording a track (the promotional value) and for other services labels can provide (marketing springs to mind), then there's a market for their services. I can't understand why labels don't invest in a band so they can get their content out and marketed, taking a share of all their revenue sources in return (like any standard business investment).

    Oh wait, yes I can - they're afraid of change and of giving up their total control. It's that or die though guys.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 1:08pm

    Wow, such a well written blog.

     

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  6.  
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    James Ervin, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 1:13pm

    Isn't this a twist of irony.

    When M.C. Hammer was doing commercials, he was reviled by the "hip-hop" community for being a sellout. Now all of a sudden what he was doing is the norm. Apparently there is a fine line between being a trailblazer and selling your soul.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 1:25pm

    Nothing new and nothing surprising

    This is a logical move and should be a no brainer for record labels, advertisers and artists...

    Remember "My Adidas" by Run DMC in the 80's, the artists revived the brand although Adidas didn't really do the artists justice. I can also remember recently a Geico commercial with the caveman in the airport that has a really catchy tune in it. After seeing this, I had to know who the artist was and what the name of the song was. I found it, but for the life of me could not find the song anywhere to download it for um 'free', so I ended up buying the song on itunes. It was Royksopp - "Remind Me". This proves that the theory works. If the record labels and the RIAA would stop being jackasses and recognize that they must change the way they do business and it will benefit themselves and the artists and other companies and the consumer in the long run.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 1:30pm

    Re: Nothing new and nothing surprising

    But why sell music when the RIAA can simply sue you for $250,000 for every "free" song? That's sure a lot more than the $10.99 they would have received only part of if you had simply bought the CD.

     

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  9.  
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    Hulser, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 1:33pm

    Advertising is like pornography...

    Advertising is like pornography...it's hard to define, but you know it when you see it. People may not be able to come up with a dictionary definition of advertising, but I think they're pretty good at spotting things that are ads.

    So, while it may make good business sense for big corporations like P&G to sponsor a record label, even if the music is really good, it might fail because of the taint of advertising. As I've commented before, I don't think that content is the same thing as advertising. Even if a song or a TV show is only small percentage of "advertising", then the whole thing is perceived as being an ad. A song paid for by P&G? Probably not an ad. A song paid for by P&G that prominantly features the word "Tag" (or "Tide") in the lyrics. That's an ad.

    Again, I don't disagree that advertising and content can work together or even that some content can function in much the same way as an ad. I also understand that by using the word "advertising" in reference to content, Mike is trying to make a point by pushing the bounds of what is traditionally thought of as advertising. But I still think that there is a distinction in the minds of most people between content and advertising that is obscured by the statement "All advertising is content, and all content is advertising". If TD can make a fine distinction between the definition of theft and copyright infringement, shouldn't we make the same distinction between advertising and content?

     

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  10.  
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    6fingeredjake, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 1:44pm

    More Harm Than Good

    While I see your point about this being exciting from the standpoint of a business model, 3 negative thoughts immediately popped into my head:

    1. Censorship: How long until one of the product manufacturers starts telling the artist what they can and cannot say in their songs? If the people putting up the money for the record don't want an F-bomb dropped in their next hit single to sell their Pampers line, what happens then?

    2. Success: What if one of these bands becomes successful? Do they then abandon this model and enter the ever so stale "traditional" model because they have moved past being: "just another corporate mouth-piece" band? Then we are right back to square one.

    3. Distribution. How will distribution work? I can't see iTunes selling the latest album from "The Sellouts" on the Dell Inspiron label. Can you?

     

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  11.  
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    Hulser, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 1:48pm

    Re:

    Wow, such a well written blog.

    Hidden sarcasm tag? If you have a problem with the post, why don't you actually say what you think the problem is rather than making some vague, sarcastic comment?

     

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  12.  
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    6fingeredjake, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Re:

    What is unclear to you about my comment?

    I never said I had a problem with the post, I said that I saw some potential negative developments as a result of the model described in the post.

    As to a sarcasm tag, this is the internet, you are going to run into sarcasm from time to time.

     

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  13.  
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    chris (profile), Aug 19th, 2008 @ 2:10pm

    Re: More Harm Than Good

    1. Censorship: How long until one of the product manufacturers starts telling the artist what they can and cannot say in their songs? If the people putting up the money for the record don't want an F-bomb dropped in their next hit single to sell their Pampers line, what happens then?

    you want to be free to do your own thing? STFU and go independent.

    2. Success: What if one of these bands becomes successful? Do they then abandon this model and enter the ever so stale "traditional" model because they have moved past being: "just another corporate mouth-piece" band? Then we are right back to square one.

    you want to make more money? STFU and go independent.

    3. Distribution. How will distribution work? I can't see iTunes selling the latest album from "The Sellouts" on the Dell Inspiron label. Can you?

    you want to reach a wider audience? STFU and go independent.

     

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  14.  
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    bowerbird, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 2:12pm

    when artists lie down with marketers,
    they get up with fleas. and the clap.

    -bowerbird

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Hulser, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 2:43pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    What is unclear to you about my comment?

    Nothing. That's why I replied to AC's comment (which I quoted) instead of yours.

     

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  16.  
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    Cornholio, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 5:12pm

    War is Terrorism - Bumper Sticker

    All male-female intercourse is rape - Andrea Dworkin

    All ads are content, and vice versa - Mike Masnick

    Shared characteristics do not equivalencies make - Cornholio

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 5:29pm

    Re: Advertising is like pornography...

    In strong agreement with Hulser

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 5:31pm

    Re: War is Terrorism - Bumper Sticker

    Tee hee hee

     

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  19.  
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    Twinrova, Aug 20th, 2008 @ 4:23am

    Watch the first steps of this failed business model.

    "This doesn't mean (as I'm sure some angry commenters will imply) that all music will soon have some sort of consumer packaged goods connection -- but it shows, once again, that new business models emerge, and those business models will ensure that plenty of good content continues to show up."

    There's no point in arguing against Mike's stand that ads = content because he feels he's right despite consumers getting upset when the two "collide" (regardless how well the "content" is made).

    I'll simply state this is NOT the first time Corporate America and the entertainment industry has tried to tie into each other.

    It didn't work then. It's not going to work now.

    Consumers know the difference between content and advertising regardless how one is being masked as the other.

     

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  20.  
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    elo, Aug 21st, 2008 @ 5:31am

    It will be interesting to see what trajectory Q's P&G-sponsored career starts to follow..and what he does for P&G's brand.

    I can see some artists and fans shying away from this sort of partnership, but I'm curious to see how it plays out for the big corporate brand names and if the investment really pays off for their brand-building (and how that would be measured).

    Dr. Tantillo ('the marketing doctor') posted on his branding blog ( http://blog.marketingdoctor.tv ) on how this could be a huge asset to P&G--but also potentially a huge liability, since celebrities are obviously not as easy to control as other non-human branding components..

    http://blog.marketingdoctor.tv/2008/07/10/brand-advisory.aspx

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Jonathan, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 1:57pm

    Seo is a must,

    Gorilla marketing in today's economy is everything, marketing to get through the recession!
    If your interested in web optimization for your site, there is a free site for uploading video ads for your business, they also have image uploads if you are not yet up to videos. The more sites you can link to the greater your market will be. They have a free link exchange as well.

     http://adwido.com

    

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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