Music artists come and go in the industry, but the branding efforts remain the same.
Artist’s reputations flourish and hit rock bottom within months, as artists in the music industry have seen. In 2009, during Grammy season, Chris Brown was charged with felony assault after having a physical altercation with then girlfriend Barbados native, Rihanna. With hit’s like “Forever,” “Run It!” and “Take You Down,” Brown was on the way to being cemented as a household name for his music and dancing ability, now his name will forever be remembered as “the man who beat Rihanna.”
From hit songs, to a history of hitting, Brown’s career suffered a blemish when Wrigley Gum dropped Brown and his song “Forever” from their commercial campaign, after news of the incident spread.
Now, just as quickly as an artist can hit the industry rock bottom, the industry is also good at flourishing an artist to reimagine themselves as artists, as was the case with the “Timber” songstress, Ke$ha, or now as she is known Kesha. When the world knew her as she was “brushing her teeth with a bottle of Jack (Daniels),” and basically inventing every club jam of the early 2010’s.
The glitter obsessed songstress went away in 2013, after her song “Timber,” with Pitbull, and reappeared in 2014 with a bang, having sued producer Dr. Luke for sexual assault and battery. The party image of Kesha and her antics, all seemed to disappear as she entered rehab, and exited a changed woman. Once her story reached the media, about her issues with Dr. Luke, and her issues with body image, the public was behind the new branding of Kesha, with every shade of the rainbow in her hair.
While songs on the radio create an initial branding effort, live concerts ultimately seal the artists image. Ryan Roehl of Arlington, Texas, says he feels a connection with an artist during live events.
“It’s not about how hot or sexy the musician is, it’s about the connection I have with the music and how I feel hearing it right then and there,” Roehl said.
During one live music experience, Roehl said he saw country artist Luke Bryan in concert last year, and during the concert he said Bryan made the audience cry.
“If you’re not having a connection with your music to your fans, then you’re failing as a musical artist to me,” he said.
Connecting to the artist fan base is imperative to the brand of an artist, as fans make up record sales, concert sales, and merchandise sales, and loss of fan base hurts an artists brand. One artist knows this “All Too Well.” Taylor Swift has done more than her fair share of charitable giving in the past year, from giving fans Christmas gifts, to donating $50,000 to New York City public schools.
In 2014, Swift went on social media and would leave a Santa emoji on fans social media profiles, and near Christmas the fans received gifts personally from Swift herself, and she even hand delivered some of the gifts. On Tuesday, the artist donated profits from her song “Welcome to New York” to the New York City public schools.
While some artists are connecting with their fans on a charitable level, or an emotional level, one artist is physically connecting to her “Little Monsters.”
One of the most dominant fan bases since Beyonce’s “Beyhive,” the “Little Monsters” are Lady Gaga’s fan base. One instance of her devotion to fans was in 2009, when fans were waiting outside for the release of her sophomore album, “The Fame Monster,” and she sent pizza. Also, Gaga went above and beyond and created the Born This Way Foundation, a foundation for youth to feel empowered, and create “a kinder world.”
During her Born This Way Tour in 2013, Gaga pulled up Boerne, Texas, native Andrew Flieller to dance a segment of “ScheiBe” during her show in Houston, Texas. After the song, Gaga gave Flieller a kiss.
“This is not a set up, this is destiny,” Gaga said during the concert.
In an interview, Flieller said he was in shock that the kiss happened, and that moment opened up a lot of opportunities for him.
Whether an artist is doing something to help individuals, groups, or an entire school system, it empowers their brand, and gives them the likable quality a fan looks for.