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Why YOU Are Such an Important Part of Celebrity Branding®

I spoke at the University of Florida’s Music Law Conference just a few weeks ago and the topic of discussion that surfaced (as it always does) was, “Where music is headed and is there a solution to stop piracy and free digital downloading?” When I gave my answer, there was a puzzled look on many faces, not because it was a profound answer, but more likely because it was an “I knew that!” kind of answer.

The computer has made many things possible and many common tasks easier. But every sword cuts both ways, and the fact that digital data can be perfectly duplicated has wreaked havoc on many industries. Even though many industries have felt the effects of this phenomenon, one of the most high-profile industries that has received much of the media attention regarding this issue is the music industry.

My answer to the question was that the solution to this problem is what it always has been -- there is only one YOU. By that I mean that you can only be in one place at one time, period. You can record a moment in time and duplicate it all you want, but there is a unique and special allure to seeing a celebrity in the flesh. Sure a photo is great, but getting the chance to stand next to you and talk to you is a totally different experience that no perfect copy can recreate.

Most people haven’t taken the time to notice that the live-concert industry has been making money hand-over-fist throughout all of this controversy because nothing takes the place of being in the same place at the same time as the celebrities on stage performing for you. That’s the reason Live Nation, the largest concert promoter in the world, has been able to dominate the industry and grow into a multi-billion-dollar entertainment behemoth. The recent news that Madonna signed a deal with Live Nation instead of a traditional record label caught many of us in the industry off-guard, but in hindsight it should have been obvious! In its own words,

“Live Nation is the future of the music business. With the most live concerts, music venues and festivals in the world and the most comprehensive concert search engine on the web, Live Nation is revolutionizing the music industry: onstage and online.”

You’ll note that even though Live Nation has an online presence, its main focus is to exploit the offline concerts that it promotes.

So, what does this mean for your business? Well, there is only one YOU. Everything else is relatively easy to copy. A great product, service or process is pretty easy for your competitors to duplicate. The imitations may not be perfect, but they are usually good enough. The one factor that you can control, that has the ability to magnetically attract customers like nothing else, that no one can duplicate is your presence in the business.

No one else can speak to customers in print ads, on the radio, on television and in person the same way you can. No one can connect with the same individuals you can. And most importantly, no one can control how you make your customers feel quite like you can… NO ONE!

So, the best way to avoid what has happened to the music business is to put yourself out in front of your business. Use your unique qualities, qualifications and life experiences to connect with consumers and you’ll quickly see how your competitors will scramble to try keep up, but they won’t ever quite be able to.