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音乐也需要品牌

2008-06-28
音乐也需要品牌
作者:英国《金融时报》保罗•塞克斯坦(Paul Sexton)
2008年6月24日 星期二
与上个世纪60年代简陋的T恤和披头士(Beatles)的口香糖相比,音乐界的商业开发推广已取得很大进展。现在,设计师品牌运动鞋和巨星代言的烈酒终于被认可为一个重要的收入流。

近几个月,唱片公司纷纷利用广为议论的“360度”全方位合约,试图从艺人的官方授权产品、巡演的收入和出版发行、以及唱片销售收入中分得一杯羹。有时,这是对更高比例预付版税的回报。然而,许多功成名就的明星还是选择与该领域内的主要公司达成利润丰厚的独立协议,将商业开发推广的利润据为己有。此类公司可能成为一个艺人全球营销战略的一部分,并创造出可与唱片销售相匹敌的收入。环球唱片(Universal)旗下商业开发推广部门Bravado首席执行官汤姆•班尼特(Tom Bennett)表示:“5年前,我不记得有谁称自己的乐队为一个品牌。突然之间,每个人都是品牌了,所以你必须以那种方式思考。”

Bravado正在扩展。在近30年的时间里,它已建立了一个庞大的客户基础,包括环球旗下艺人,从坎耶•维斯特(Kanye West)到Girls Aloud组合,还包括许多其它唱片公司的艺人,例如百代唱片(EMI)的Iron Maiden乐队和索尼BMG (Sony BMG)的碧昂丝(Beyoncé)。Bravado曾属于Sanctuary公司,去年被环球唱片收购后,Bravado得以利用环球唱片在77个国家的分销渠道,并抵达其它T恤衫公司到不了的区域。

班尼特表示:“最开始时,都是些玫瑰花结和围巾,完全是在模仿足球。现在,我们与Iron Maiden乐队一起去日本开演唱会,(商品销售额)可以达到人均20英磅。过去,如果我们能达到人均1英镑,就好像赢了彩票一样。”

“目前,一些较为丰厚的‘人均'销售收入来自知名流行乐队,例如辣妹组合(Spice Girls)、麦莉•塞勒斯(Miley Cyrus)、New Kids On The Block的复出巡演——这些时候的销售收入最高。坎耶•维斯特的受欢迎程度已远超出我们所想象。在一轮美国巡演中,他的现场观众将达到40万至50万人,而我们能收入500万美元。”

唱片连锁零售HMV的媒体主管杰纳罗•卡斯塔尔多(Gennaro Castaldo)表示,艺人与关联品牌销售“依然只占总营业额中相对较小的份额,不到5%,但这个数字始终在增长,而且目前已接近几年前的两倍”。

英国音乐家戴夫•斯图尔特(Dave Stewart)曾是Eurythmics乐队成员。如今,他将录音及制作与现代唱片业顾问的角色结合起来,为O2等公司服务。他表示:“常常很难让音乐家们将自己看作一个品牌,但到了最后,他们会成为品牌,不管他们喜不喜欢。”

“某些艺人马上就能理解,比如多数说唱歌手,因此,Jay-Z等人已拥有自己的威士忌和鞋类品牌。认为商业开发推广只是印有你姓名的T恤和马克杯的想法,就像是来自另一个世纪的事物。”

班尼特表示,他的公司与唱片公司的合作关系帮助建立了“我们从未有过的零售合作关系,因为环球与那些关键客户有关系。这打开了非常多的业务之门。”

Iron Maiden乐队和他们独特的吉祥物、面容邪恶的面具Eddie,从上世纪80年代初就一直与Bravado合作。这支重金属乐队在Phantom Music的联席经理安迪•泰勒(Andy Taylor)称:“我们以及几乎所有乐队,仍然在唱片合约之外(与商业开发推广商)签约。”

在Sanctuary时,泰勒协助发展了“360度”的概念。但他表示,与现在大型唱片公司的做法相比,Santuary对于艺人的价值要高得多,原因在于其拥有的公司,包括Bravado。“我们可以和一名艺人签署唱片合约、发行合约、商业开发推广合约和演唱会代理合约,并提供所有的服务。在我看来,这是360度全方位公司应有的样子。”

“(几大唱片公司)不提供其它领域的服务,他们只是从唱片以外的领域获取部分利润。所以,签署360度全方位合约的只有那些新乐队,他们需要这种合约,也准备出让从商业开发推广中获得的部分收益。”

“一些知名艺人,例如罗比•威廉姆斯(Robbie Williams),确实会向唱片公司出售唱片以外部分收入的分享权,但是同样不是由它们提供这些服务,它们只是分享收益而已。”

进一步认识到当今音乐商界此类所谓“商业化”的地位之后,环球从Atmosphere Apparel创始者兼所有者马克•斯特雷德威克(Mark Stredwick)手中收购了这家英国公司,而斯特雷德维克继续将Atmosphere作为一家独立经营的公司来管理。该公司拥有Metallica乐队与Red Hot Chili Peppers乐队在北美以外地区和Rage Against the Machine乐队在欧洲的商业开发推广权。Bravado已经拥有Metallica在北美的代理权。

班尼特表示,Bravado与国际服饰连锁企业的联系为艺人带来了好处。它与Spencer Gifts的关系使得该零售连锁商承销了Led Zeppelin乐队的精选辑《Mothership》。“它们之前从来没有承销过唱片,”他表示,“Q-Prime(乐队经纪公司)欣喜若狂。”

积极的商业开发推广活动还能在新唱片发行前提供良好的市场营销。Bravado为Metallica准备的存货上已标有这支多次取得白金销量的摇滚乐队即将推出的专辑,这将是环球在今秋的首推专辑。

Bravado有一个官方摩托车头盔系列,是为摇滚乐队Slayer生产的,零售价为每件200英镑。第一批已发货1.2万件,这意味着240万英镑的总收入。此外,虽然可能不具有朋克精神,该公司代表新浪潮英雄Ramones乐队的系列是服装连锁商店H&M最受欢迎的产品之一。与玫瑰花结和口香糖相比,Bravado已取得相当大的进展。

译者/管婧

阅读本文章英文,请点击 BRANDS HELP BANDS REACH MUSICAL HIGHS
BRANDS HELP BANDS REACH MUSICAL HIGHS
By Paul Sexton
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Music merchandising has come a long way from the humble T-shirts and Beatles' chewing gum of the 1960s. Now designer trainers and superstar-endorsed spirits are finally being recognised as an important revenue stream.

The much-discussed 360-degree deal has, in recent months, seen record companies seek a share of the profit from artists' officially licensed products, touring receipts and publishing, as well as record sales. This is sometimes in return for bigger advances against royalties. But many established stars opt instead to keep merchandising profits for themselves by cutting lucrative separate deals with leading companies in the field. Such companies can become part of an act's worldwide marketing strategy and generate income to rival their record sales.

“Five years ago,” says Tom Bennett, chief executive of Bravado, the merchandising arm of Universal, “I don't remember anybody calling their band a brand. All of a sudden, everybody's a brand, and you have to think that way.”

Bravado is expanding. Over some 30 years, it has built a client base that includes Universal artists, from Kanye West to Girls Aloud, and many who record for other labels, such as EMI's Iron Maiden and Sony BMG's Beyoncé. Formerly part of Sanctuary, which last year was absorbed by Universal, Bravado has access to Universal's distribution channels in 77 countries and is reaching the parts of the world other T-shirts cannot reach.

“At the very beginning,” says Mr Bennett, “it was rosettes and scarves, it was a complete carry-over from soccer. Now, we can go to a concert with Iron Maiden in Japan and do £20 a head [on merchandise sales]. Back then, if we could even do £1 a person, it was like we'd won the lottery.

“Some of the bigger ‘per heads' now would be on big pop groups, so the Spice Girls, Miley Cyrus, the New Kids On The Block reunion tour — that's when it goes through the stratosphere. Kanye West is turning out to be way bigger than we ever imagined. He'll play to 400,000-500,000 people on one US tour and we'll do m (£2.5m).”

Gennaro Castaldo, head of press for the HMV retail chain, says artist and related merchandising “still accounts for a relatively small part of overall turnover, less than 5 per cent, but it's growing all the time, and is now approximately double its level of a couple of years ago”.

English musician Dave Stewart, formerly with Eurythmics, now combines recording and production with advisory roles about the modern industry for companies such as O2. He observes: “It's often hard for musicians to think of themselves as a brand, but at the end of the day they become one, whether they like it or not.

“Certain artists get it straight away, like most hip-hop artists, so Jay-Z and so on have got their own whisky and shoes. The idea of merchandising just being T-shirts and mugs with your name on it is like something from another century.”

Mr Bennett says his company's partnership with the record label has facilitated “retail relationships we've never had before, because of the relationships Universal has with these key accounts. It's opening an awful lot of doors”.

Iron Maiden, with their distinctive, “Eddie” evil-faced mask mascot, have been with Bravado since the early 1980s. The heavy metal band's co-manager at Phantom Music, Andy Taylor, says: “We, and virtually all bands, still do deals with [merchandisers] outside of the record deal.”

While at Sanctuary, Mr Taylor helped develop the 360-degree concept. But he says it had a greater value to an artist than the current big label interpretation does, because of the companies it owned, including Bravado. “We could sign an act to a record deal, a publishing deal, a merchandising deal and a live agency deal, and provide all the services. That to me is what a 360-degree company is.

“[Majors] don't provide the services of the different areas, they merely take a share of the profits from the areas outside records. So the only bands doing these 360-degree deals are new bands who need the deal and are prepared to give away a share of what they generate from their merchandising.

“Some big artists, such as Robbie Williams, did sell to a record company a participation in other income outside records, but again it was not them providing the services, merely sharing the income.”

In further recognition of the standing of “merch”, as it is known, in modern-day music commerce, Universal has acquired the UK-based Atmosphere Apparel from founder/owner Mark Stredwick. Atmosphere, which Mr Stredwick will continue to run as a standalone business, holds merchandise rights outside North America to Metallica and Red Hot Chili Peppers, and European rights for Rage Against the Machine. Bravado already represents Metallica in North America.

Mr Bennett says Bravado's international links with apparel chains have provided benefits for artists. Its relationship with Spencer Gifts led to the chain carrying Led Zeppelin's Mothership compilation album. “They've never carried a record before,” he says. “Q-Prime [the band's management] were over the moon.”

An aggressive merchandising campaign also provides good marketing in advance of a new release. Bravado's inventory for Metallica is flagging up the multi- platinum rock band's forthcoming album, a Universal priority in the autumn.

Bravado has a line of official biker helmets for rock band Slayer retailing at £200 each, for which the initial ship of 12,000 pieces represents a gross of £2.4m. And, while it may not be the spirit of punk, the company's range representing new wave heroes the Ramones is one of the most popular lines for clothing chain H&M. It has come a long way from rosettes and chewing gum.
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