Will.i.am is the Man – Creating a New Era of Music Media Platforms

Picture from the event

I always knew there was something super advanced and different about the Black Eyed Peas. My first sign was when I saw them perform at Intel’s private launch party for their Core 2 Duo processor at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (thanks to Marc Harrison – pictures below). It was the first time I ever experienced a collision of mainstream music, technology, celebrities, and media all in one room, at one major event.

Yesterday I read an article in the Rolling Stones by Chris Norris titled “40 Reasons To Be Excited About Music” and sure enough, coming in at No.1 was “The Black Eyed Peas – Will.I.Am and the Science of Global Pop Domination.”

The entire article is certainly worth a read for anyone that’s in to music, but the piece that really hit me was this…

“To Will.i.am, songs aren’t discrete works of art but multi-use applications – hit singles, ad jingles, film trailers – all serving a purpose larger than music consumption. Creatively, he draws no distinction between writing rhymes and business plans, rocking arenas and PowerPoint, producing albums and media platforms, all these falling under a cleareyed mission to unite the largest possible audience over the broadest range imaginable. It’s a mission he communicates with a combination of Pentecostal zeal and Silicon Valley jargon, suggesting a hybrid of Stevie Wonder and Steve Jobs.”

It’s the idea that media and music are really one in the same. That business and music are thought about the same way and are less complimentary but more interconnected.

Over the past year, the lines between technology, software, media, music, marketing and news has become increasingly blurry.

Here are just some examples:

  • Meredith Media, a company that used to be a traditional publishing company is now acting as a fully integrating marketing agency.
  • Global advertising holding companies like Havas, OMD, and Publicis are now looking to build their own technology units in house in an attempt to replace the need for Ad Networks and control the entire online advertising stack.
  • Software is Media, says Fred Wilson in a recent post –  ”Media are the tools that are used to communicate. And software that runs on the web is part of the media landscape.”
  • NBC recently launched a new program called “Behavior Placement” which is “designed to sway viewers to adopt actions they see modeled in their favorite shows.”

And even today there’s news about how Hearst, another traditional publishing company, is looking to buy the digital advertising firm iCrossing for $375M.

As are lives continue to digitize, the companies and artists that continue to take a longer, interconnected view on culture, technology and media, will be the ones that succeed. Will.i.am and the BEP are definitely on “that next shit now.”

Intel – Black Eyed Peas

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
  • Pingback: WPP Group Ready To Buy Digital Agencies; Demand Media Pitching; Yahoo! Acquiring Reporters

  • http://greghills.com greghills

    “Creatively, he draws no distinction between writing rhymes and business plans, rocking arenas and PowerPoint, producing albums and media platforms, all these falling under a cleareyed mission to unite the largest possible audience over the broadest range imaginable.”

    Kind of feels like the way visual artists like Andy Warhol and Takashi Murakami mixed art and commerce….but we're seeing the phenomenon surface in a way thats much more mainstream

    People have been cross-platform brands for a long time….Ronald Reagan was an actor than President. But now because of social media, almost all artists exist as a digital brand from day 1.

  • http://danreich.com danreich

    Great point. You're right. This type of thing has been going on for quite
    some time. It was most interesting to me because, in my opinion,
    Will.i.amis taking it to another level AND at the same time, we are
    seeing the
    drastic role changes in the digital media ecosystem (Agencies becoming Ad
    Nets, Media Cos becoming agencies, etc).