10 Jul 2013

Jay-Z: Magna Carta Holy Grail

by Professor Anita Elberse

American rapper Jay-Z released his twelfth studio album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, on July 4, 2013. We asked Anita Elberse, Lincoln Filene Professor of Business Administration, who developed and teaches the course "Strategic Marketing in Creative Industries," to weigh in on how the release of his album is the latest example of how focused he is in his strategy for managing the Jay-Z brand.

Jay-Z's deal with Samsung -- in which the technology giant signed on to buy 1 million copies of Jay-Z's latest album, "Magna Carta Holy Grail," and make the album available for free to consumers with Samsung phones before it went on sale to the general public -- is only the latest in a string of innovative partnerships between entertainers and large consumer-goods companies. These deals are a far cry from traditional endorsement arrangements -- and because they are often a "meeting of the best brands," they are capable of having a tremendous impact on markets.

In many ways, Jay-Z himself led the way a few years ago with the one-of-a-kind launch of his memoir Decoded, which was dreamed up by advertising agency Dorga5 and funded by Microsoft’s Bing. It was highly effective at driving both sales of the memoir and trial of Bing. Other examples in the world of music are the album launches of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way in 2011 and Taylor Swift’s Red in 2012, which were each supported by a wide range of partnerships with consumer brands. And the next big thing is already in the works, if reports of Jay-Z’s wife Beyonce’s $50 million partnership with Pepsi are to be believed.


More on Jay-Z

Hit-making, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment by Anita Elberse

Case Study: Droga5: Launching Jay-Z's Decoded

Case Study: Lady Gaga (A) & Lady Gaga (B)

The Economic Value of Celebrity Endorsements

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