It used to be that scarcity drove up value. It was simple supply and demand. When something is rare, it is more valuable.
In music we can find endless examples. The posthumous brand values of artists like Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, and Elvis Presley are far greater than their brand values prior to their deaths.
After John Bonham died and Led Zeppelin disbanded, every Page/Plant interaction became a major event. Their 2007 reunion show at the 02 Arena in London became the live music event of the decade.
We have yet to experience it, but there is a good chance that each unreleased song from the Prince archives will become extremely valuable.
Low supply = high demand = even higher value.
Today it seems like that equation might be broken.
The Weeknd is one of the top-selling artists in the world. His first single appeared in the fall of 2012, just over four years ago.
Since that time, The Weeknd has released three studio albums, three mixtapes, one compilation album (featuring all 3 mixtapes), and a mind-boggling 26 singles.
In just over four years, The Weeknd has released 26 singles. That’s an average of 6.5 singles per year. Think about that for a second.
To put that in perspective, over the course of their career The Rolling Stones have released 109 singles so far. But they put their first single out in 1964… that was 52 years ago. That’s an average of just over 2 singles per year.
Aerosmith has pumped out 63 singles since 1973. That’s an impressive number, but it is only about 1.5 singles per year.
Bruce Springsteen has given us 69 singles since ’73, a production level similar to Aerosmith.
Madonna’s career has seen her release 83 singles since 1982, which is a solid 2.44 singles annually.
None of those legendary artists even come close to The Weeknd’s incredible pace of 6.5 singles per year.
The game has changed.
For those heritage artists, the game was about releasing the right number of albums and singles, and touring just the right amount. Artists timed their releases so that they could do an album, release multiple singles while touring to support the album, take a year or so off, and then release a new album. And it worked.
Today’s artists live in a world of instant gratification. They compete with artists everywhere on the globe, creating and releasing new music incessantly. They exist in an environment where you can create and release a song, get millions of streams and downloads, and then decide if you even want to do an album or tour. They collaborate and co-create in an unprecedented way.
Today’s artists also live in a cycle of perpetual media exposure. If you’re not doing something noteworthy, you’re irrelevant.
Is your business staying top-of-mind?
Being top-of-mind today means being perpetually present in your marketing, having a constant social dialog, and continually evolving your products and creating new products.
You never want to flood the market to the point of devaluing your product, but in today’s world you cannot sit back and be invisible, hoping your die-hard fans will crave your product in six months or a year. You need to be evolving, growing, changing, and adapting.
The Weeknd has released 26 singles in four years, and that’s the new normal.
Drake has released 85 singles in his nine year career. That blows The Weeknd out of the water! Drake is averaging almost 18 singles per year.
Drake’s girlfriend Rihanna has released 64 singles since 2005, just short of 6 singles per year.
Kanye West has released 110 singles since 2003, just about 8.5 singles per year.
The game has changed.
Will you change with it?
By the way, the new album Starboy by The Weeknd is nothing short of amazing. You really should listen to it. The man is prolific because he’s brilliant.
Put the lessons of music legends to work to help you build a better business. You can still order Brand Like a Rock Star with one-click on Amazon and have it delivered well before Christmas.