Selling out is the new norm in the music industry
Once frowned upon, it’s now an accepted and highly lucrative practice
Michael Buckner, WireImage/Getty Images
The race is on to make the world’s highest paid musicians’ list, or so it seems with stars falling all over themselves to earn multi-million dollar paycheques in ways that may have raised eyebrows in the past.
Remember when reality TV was for wannabes, lucrative advertising campaigns for sellouts and residencies in Las Vegas for the likes of Wayne Newton and Jimmy Buffett?
Well it’s a new day folks, one where anything goes, especially if there’s a high enough bidder.
Three Las Vegas hotels are reportedly in a tug of war for pop princess Britney Spears, eager to reward the lip-synching starlet with a whopping $200 million contract over two years, all to set up camp at one of their casino properties and hang out at the pool bar.
This comes after Spears saw dollar signs in reality TV and collected a cool $15 million at The X Factor, paving the way for Mariah Carey to walk in and command a hefty $18 million for one season of American Idol. At this point you’d be hard pressed to name a famous musician who hasn’t been signed or linked to a reality TV talent show.
That is except for Beyonce, who doesn’t need that particular cash-grab since she just accepted a $50 million advertising deal with Pepsi.
And even though he hasn’t had an album in 13 years, Dr. Dre walked away with a jaw-dropping $110 million last year by hawking headphones, making him the highest paid musician according to Forbes.
Can’t name a pop star without a signature scent, a clothing label, or a tequila brand? We digress.
So what changed in the musical landscape that allowed the biggest stars in the business to transparently put their bank accounts first without fear of fan retribution or the loss of some serious street cred?
The paradigm shift may very well have begun with advancements in technology, which ironically many predicted would spell the end of the music industry’s uber-rich.
Remember the conundrum musicians found themselves in when people stopped buying CDs? Running around with their tails in a knot during the Napster days, bemoaning all the lost income from illegal downloads?
While there may be far fewer jobs now as a result of this digital era, and there’s no doubt a lot of lesser-known talent is certainly suffering, the biggest stars in the business have only used it as incentive to maximize profits in other areas, and it sure looks like they’re more than making up for it.