Questions & Answers
Q: How is Nicki Minaj outselling Kanye, weeks after he almost went Gold in the 1st week?
It appears that Universal Republic’s marketing department set out to make her a household name in the fashion world. If you haven’t noticed, she does more press for fashion & lifestyle publications then hip hop publications.
The first test of the water was Massive Attack with Amber Rose in the video – Amber Rose is a known figure in fashion circles through modelling. The record didn’t do too well but the video got its spins & grabbed our attention, that was the aim.
Then there are the numerous articles & features of her in established fashion & lifestyle magazines like Ebony/Essence/Fader/Complex/Teen Vogue/Details – the list is endless.
This demo is mostly women – women with the disposable income to buy records. If you have articles or reviews in these publications, you’re gonna reach more people than a hip hop magazine and it’s going to be reaching people who tend to buy music, according to statistics.
Another interesting note was how she did the LGBT lifestyle magazines. Publicists in other genres try to get press in these mags all the time for their clients, but not with rap as it’s viewed as a taboo topic. When she did that she reached another large audience without having to compete for space with other rappers.
And lately she’s been seen on BET – Rip The Runway, Vogue et al, so it seems to be working.
(sidenote – im not implying that everyone who reads hip hop mags and hip hop sites is straight and that people who aren’t gay didn’t buy Pink Friday)
Q: What about Roc-A-Fella, and, more recently, Young Money? Both are glamour labels run by entities who are primarily artists. Is this due to said entities having their own team behind the scenes, such as a Damon Dash or Mack Maine / Slim Williams?
Also is putting a CEO in the spotlight not good promotion for a brand? For example, putting Puffy into the forefront as an artist allowed the Bad Boy brand to become “humanised” to a certain extend, people identified with the label because they identified with the flagship artist. People don’t just root for the star player, they root for the whole team, no?
A: Young Money is run by Cash Money. So Lil Wayne & Mack Maine won’t really be involved in the business operations.They will be more like a spokesperson – the face of the company. Baby & Slim are still in charge of that company, Vernon Brown is in charge of legal & financial affairs, their marketing & radio is still done by Universal Republic.
As far as good promotion, there is some truth to that. But in my view, if the CEO is the star of the company there is a few problems that can arise.
- conflict of interest- if the CEO is the highest selling artist on the label, they are not going to give other artists projects the same push – major labels are all about hitting quarterly numbers – thats how they measure market share & company growth. So naturally, it’s less of a risk for the parent label if the CEO/rapper who just went platinum a few months back drops another album in the same year instead of the newly signed artist who they’ll have to build up piece by piece
- that leads to the label being built around the CEO/Rapper – the danger with that is once they flop the whole label will go down because no other artist has been developed to reach that star level – the other option would be to sign a star from a competitior as a safe bet
- theres also a practical issue such as time – there just isn’t enough time to effectively write & record an album while trying to run a multi million dollar company, brief staff, do promo runs etc