Jay-Z, rap impresario and former chief executive at Def Jam, has “closed a $150 million deal with concert promoter Live Nation that will finance his own entertainment venture and handle is recordings and tours for the next ten years.” (Crain’s New York Business)
Live Nation’s deal with the man former known as Shawn Carter is the promoter’s most expensive to date. Other beneficiaries of Live Nation’s deep pockets include Madonna ($120 million) and U2 ($100 million).
Is Jay-Z and Live Nation a match made in heaven? That remains to be seen. In a recent New York Times article about the travails of the rap group, The Roots (“New Album, New Fears, Same Old Attitude”), it was reported that hip hop CD sales declined approximately 30 percent in 2007.
No problem, you say, Jigga can rely on the paper he gets from touring and selling merchandise. Maybe. Maybe not. In the same article, Richard Nichols, manager of The Roots implied that hip hop heads aren’t nearly as loyal as supporters of indie bands and that CD sales drive concert attendance “There’s a winner-take-all kind of thing that kicks in with black culture, and definitely with hip-hop,” Nichols said. “If you’re doing contemporary white music, you can be a Deerhoof or Panda Bear or Grizzly Bear” ( critically favored but noncommercial indie-rock acts) and you’re not really judged on your sales impact.”
As for selling merchandise, even a long established urban brand like Phat Farm is catching hell. In the first episode of her self-titled show, “Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane”, Kimora Lee Simmons, former model and fashion diva, who recently took over the brand stated that it was “struggling” and needed reinvigoration.
If Jay-Z doesn’t deliver, his failure may not be just his own but it may deliver the death blow to hip hop as a viable commodity.
For more details about the deal, click here.
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