Cee Lo Green is an excellent example of what can happen when a great artist focuses on building his brand. Instead of being measured by record sales, Green has a strong brand that allows him access to multiple revenue streams and an estimated income of over $20 million. But strong music and an association with a variety of creative talents was not enough to establish Cee Lo Green so strongly. It took the help of Primary Wave to take Green's brand from quirky to powerful.
Cee Lo Green for 7Up
Though Cee Lo Green is in the midst of a minor pr catastrophe, his brand as a distinctive musician with a unique image is stronger than ever. The NY Times' Ben Sisario profiles the business side of Cee Lo Green and the process of building a music and entertainment brand with Primary Wave Music.
Cee Lo Green signed with Primary Wave in November 2010 as Green's solo effort "The Lady Killer" was about to be released. By this stage he was best known for the single "Crazy" with Danger Mouse and had considerable credibility for his involvement with Goodie Mob. His brand had a quirky strength but it was built on his work with other artists.
Primary Wave, which recently merged with Violator Management, began building on the viral strength of "Forget You", aka "Fuck You," and Green made numerous tv appearances and commercial endorsements such as the above spot for 7Up.
Though Cee Lo has potentially done well off music sales, it's the performances and the commercial work for such brands as Absolut, Duracell and M&M's that are the big money makers. So, though his brand is based on music, his ability to monetize that music is not reflective of music sales so much as of the strength of the brand itself. As Cee Lo puts it:
"There's security in being a brand; there's certainty in being a brand...McDonald's is a brand. And when you get your fix for a Big Mac, where do you go? There's only one place you can go for a Big Mac, and that's big McDonald's."
The Big Cee Lo Brand has spread via a variety of tv appearances, peaking with "The Voice," leading to new deals for a reality tv show with the Goodie Mob on British tv and a Vegas show booked at Planet Hollywood called "Loberace." Those aren't the kinds of deals you get for selling lots of records, they're the kind you get for building a strong brand around a unique talent and personality.
Hypebot Features Writer Clyde Smith maintains his freelance writing hub at Flux Research and blogs at All World Dance and This Business of Blogging. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.