Yesterday saw a major announcement from TAG Body Spray (owned by P&G) and Island Def Records to start a new joint record label called TAG Records. On their website (hosted on MySpace), the deal is described as follows:
Two titans in the industry, Jermaine Dupri and Island Def Jam Records, have partnered with TAG Body Spray to start TAG Records. The trio has come together in an effort to give up and coming hip hop artists the opportunity to make their mark. Jermaine will continue his already long streak of helping young talent become stars by acting as President of TAG Records. The first guy to have the chance to make it big will debut in May 2008 when his inaugural single hits the airwaves.
The deal was orchestrated by David Caruso and Robby Wells at Acme Brand Content Company, a new marketing shop in NYC that is already making waves with big ideas like this. In full disclosure, the agency founders are old friends of mine but they are also some of the sharpest minds I know in Branded Entertainment.
I’m a firm believer that deals like this are the future of the entertainment industry. The music industry is struggling to remain profitable and breaking new artists is becoming increasingly expensive. More importantly, the industry seems to have lost their gatekeeper status thanks to the emergence of MySpace, iTunes, last.FM and other avenues where new music can be discovered. At the same time, brands are looking for new ways to connect with consumers (especially young consumers) who can no longer be reached by TV or Print. The marriage of two could be very well be the solution to both of their problems.
What I really love about the partnership is the authenticity of it. As it states in the press release, TAG Records is part of TAG’s “initiative to cultivate relationships with the ubran community.” There are a lot of ways TAG could have tried to accomplish this and I think many of them would have failed miserably. But this program really has a chance to work. TAG records will be a chance for TAG to take part and become a member of the urban community, much in the way that Mountain Dew has become a part of the Action Sports community. Instead of forcing themselves in, they are partnering with the right players in order to develop an authentic and real urban voice. They are inviting the community to become part of their brand, which in turn will make the community feel as if they are owners of the brand.
The challenge for TAG will be maintaining this authenticity and keeping their door open to the community. If they have the guts to do it, this type of partnership has the potential to turn the entertainment industry on its head and really transform how brands connect with consumers. In fact, it could even become a model for other areas including film or fashion…really anywhere that brands can connect with consumers through their passion points and unique talents are looking for authentic exposure. Acme has really created an idea where the possibilities are endless.
Here’s what others are saying/writing about the deal: