As music sales continue to drop like they’re not so hot throughout the industry, Island Def Jam Music Group is jamming on a new business model: integrating brands into artists’ CD booklets.
The first deal, created for the Mariah Carey release Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel on Sept. 15, is a 34-page co-production with Elle magazine that includes lifestyle ads from Elizabeth Arden, Angel Champagne, Carmen Steffens, Le Métier de Beauté and the Bahamas Board of Tourism. Providing the experiment goes well, the label is eyeing bigger brand deals for booklets of CDs by Rihanna, Bon Jovi, Kanye West and other artists.
The mini magazine contains Mariah-centric editorial (“VIP Access to Her Sexy Love Life,” “Amazing Closet,” “Recording Rituals”) and lifestyle advertising along with lyrics and other CD booklet elements. Elle contributed the editorial and designed the layout.
The booklets were created for the first run of U.S. CDs (1 million) and the first 500,000 overseas, said Jeff Straughn, svp-strategic marketing for Island Def Jam Music Group. It will also be available in a digital format for those who buy music online. A condensed version of the Mariah mag, sans the 14 pages of CD-specific material, will be inserted into 500,000 subscription copies of Elle’s October issue, which arrives mid-September.
“The idea was really simple thinking: ‘We sell millions of records, so you should advertise with us,’” said Antonio “L.A.” Reid, chairman, Island Def Jam Music Group, a unit of Universal Music Group. “My artists have substantial circulation—when you sell 2 million, 5 million, 8 million, that’s a lot of eyeballs. Most magazines aren’t as successful as those records.”
Carey was “very open” to the concept when Reid showed her a mock-up of the booklet in a magazine format that included brand imagery synonymous with her lifestyle. “I wouldn’t want to do Mariah Carey and Comet abrasive cleaner,” Reid said, laughing. “I wanted things that really reflected her taste.”
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