Live & Touring

Lady Gaga As A Harvard Business School Case Study

image from Lady Gaga's newest pop star honor is a pair of Harvard Business School case studies by Harvard faculty member Anita Elberse with Michael Christensen. The first study considers the possible choices Team Gaga faced after the cancellation of Kanye West's "Fame Kills" tour.   The second addresses the release of "Born This Way" and Gaga's numerous brand partnerships.

Harvard Business School Associate Professor Anita Elberse is currently focused on one "overarching question":

"What are effective marketing strategies for managers in creative industries?"

She does so from the "dominant perspective…of a manager of a firm that produces content" organized around three "sub-questions" that are intended to "capture what are arguably the main challenges that today's content producers face in serving consumers":

  • How can managers in creative industries effectively manage products and product portfolios?
  • How can managers in creative industries effectively manage and market talent?
  • How can managers in creative industries effectively respond to advances in digital technology?

Carmen Nobel recently interviewed Elberse regarding her case studies and her interest in Lady Gaga. Elberse includes Gaga in a second-year MBA course, "Strategic Marketing in Creative Industries".

The initial case study, "Lady Gaga (A)", takes the perspective of manager Troy Carter. Elberse interviewed Carter as well as "Interscope Geffen A&M Vice Chairman Steve Berman, Live Nation's global touring CEO Arthur Fogel, William Morris Endeavor agent Marc Geiger, and producer Vincent Herbert."

This study considers the complex issues involved in a situation in which an emerging star scheduled to open for a superstar on a career-making tour is suddenly faced with cancellation. Having already invested $4 million, the stakes were high for Team Gaga and they had much to consider.

As is apparently the norm for HBS case studies, the final choices are not revealed. Instead, the insider's view of the factors at play and the possible choices are presented in order to stimulate class discussion.

Both case studies are now available:

Though I'm tempted to purchase both inexpensive studies, I am as interested in the outcome and the results as I am in the decision making process. Perhaps I'll send Dr. Elberse some fan mail and encourage her to write the business book about this phase of Lady Gaga's career that many of us would love to read.

Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith is a freelance writer and blogger. He blogs about web business models at Flux Research and the world of dance at All World Dance. To suggest music services and related topics for review at Hypebot, please contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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