The Selling Of A Star
January 8, 2016
It is January 8th ... the 81st birthday of Elvis Presley. Has any star ever been marketed with the longevity of The King?
The best marketed star in Country music history is easily Dolly Parton. She controls her image and surrounds herself with a great team. From the new NBC deal to the theme park, Dolly is first-class in everything she does. A dream to talk to and impressive employees at every level. Much can be learned about adaptation from the career of Dolly.
Eric Church is featured in a promo on ESPN about his College National Championship Game tailgate party 1/11/16. Only a few thousand will see the concert, but millions saw and heard him on the promos. Star building! Brad Paisley on the CBS College Football openings all season raised his visibility. Everything is not just about selling the physical music or song. Blake is going to be an animated movie Angry Bird in a few months. His star power grows and his concert sales are helped by the sum of all parts.
His show on Music Row saw folks from 6 to 60!
One thing Country music can do better is try to get back to promoting the star not just the song! I could name a dozen artists the masses would not know if they appeared at their door.
With social media and the Internet, there is no excuse. YouTube is the best free advertising platform ever invented. If the group has any star power, exploit it. Some folks are truly just singers and they are boring people.
But they are few and thankfully infrequent.
Get those artists out there doing something. Establish a brand. Early. And maybe not just Fishin' and Huntin'. Creative! Make them friendly ... not cold and distant.
The mystery card can be played for Chris Stapleton but not everyone. The Tonight Show booked Reba after she talked about Mountain Oysters on Nashville's Channel 4 Miller and Company Show. I know because I produced the show and dubbed the tapes.
She was raw and cute and real! And she could sing! She is a star! But wasn't an overnight success.
Today with all the Internet tools, you can get attention of the big boys and get a big deal without Idol or the Voice.
Publicity sure help put unknowns Cam and Kelsea on the map. The cart led the horse, but it worked! Now look at the sales. Out of sight ... out of mind!
You need a story. A hook and angle. Something that separate you from the pack.
How tragic is the Craig Strickland story? Worldwide brand awareness with his accidental death. His life touched so many people. Memorial service in Rogers, Arkansas in a few days.
The Blake Shelton awareness is a bit tricky. His love life is the subject of the paparazzi. That is like sleeping with a snake. They have no on and off switch. Few want to be that famous unless your last name is Kardashian.
Nashville still has avoided the paps on Music Row. Nicole Kidman and Taylor Swift attracted a few but mostly they still hang in NYC and SoCal. Good!
You need fame to get on TV. Unknowns are hard to promote. It is a climb and a dance!
You can't just do radio interviews and call it a day ... A much more complicated media world in 2016. Understatement!
And the continuing story of Chris Stapleton. Now headed to Saturday Night Live ... Will Country radio get something they can joyfully agree on in 2016?
To be seen ... There is a parallel universe developing in Country music. Not counting bluegrass and Americana. And the Texas music. What is the Chris Stapleton going to move into? Can't wait to see!