Recording Artist = Marketing Machine

In Best Practices, Industry News, Know This, Money, Music, Music Business, Music History, nashville on January 27, 2010 at 10:12 am

After a quick study of Country Music recording artist Tim McGraw, one may find that he has branched out into the stratosphere of media marketing and performance mediums.  From the country music charts, to men’s cologne, to well attended tours, and even the movie box office, Tim McGraw is everywhere.  Last year’s Christmas presents could have had a “McGraw” theme:

$24.00 – 1.0 oz. of McGraw (by Tim McGraw Eau de Toilette Cologne Spray)

$59 – 2 tickets to his show at the San Antonio Rodeo

$18.98 – Southern Voice, his 2009 CD

$21.00 – 2 tickets to see his performance in The Blindside

For just $122.98 (plus the price of popcorn and a drink) you and your loved one could have had a McGraw of a time celebrating the holidays.

Whatever happened to singers singing?  Tim isn’t the first recording artist to branch out.  Sonny and Cher had their own television comedy hour, Dolly Parton has a theme park, and Wayne Newton is Mr. Las Vegas.  Everyone has their niche where they find acceptance and longevity.  But still in others, the entrepreneurial spirit drives them on to bigger and better ventures.  Just this year Sara Evans was introduced to her fans as “Author, Sara Evans” while Avril Lavigne’s clothing line went strong.

Do any of these singers start out with their sights on enterprising, stardom and Hollywood?  Are people like Tim branching away from music, or simply gaining a greater exposure for their musical career?  Although merchandise is a natural part of an artist’s income, ticket sales from an acting gig is another game in another ball park.  However, Tim’s recent role in The Blindside is a marketing slam dunk.  His song “Southern Voice,” coupled with closing credits of a hit movie, is exposure any artist would die for.

This national exposure to crowds that may or may not have been familiar with Tim’s music was the catalyst that helped the single, “Southern Voice,” rise to the top of the Billboard Country music chart.  Although he must be celebrating, these days Tim is  concentrating on his current movie project being shot right here in Nashville (details to come).

Just last week, hit producer and 5 year in a row winner of Music Row’s Engineer of the year award, Justin Neibank was telling the crowd at the Producer’s Chair the reality of CD sales.  He said, “Projects are just a marketing medium.  Prices are going down – CDs are tools to get the name of the artist out there.  Nothing more.”  The harsh reality of it all fell on the not-so-welcome ears of a crowd full of industry hopefuls and accomplished contributors.  His statement was made clear with the new Lady Antebellum CD.  “Need You Now” dropped yesterday and was sold for one day only, as a digital download, for $3.99 on amazon.com.  This definitely supported Justin’s claims that CD sales are going to continue to go down.

He remembered the days when kids ran to the record store to get the music of the great artists.  Now kids run to the department store to buy the sunglasses with the name of the artist tattooed on the  sides.  Where is the music?  This bodes well for people like Tim who want to get out there and work their little hearts out in these various mediums.  But what about the producers that slave over CDs that get sold for $3.99… where is their income or the people that just want to sing?  If all anyone is buying these days is “celebrity,” what happens to the livelihood of the music industry that is built around a song, not fame?
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