OK, I was on Youtube earlier today to listen to a song I hadn't heard in a while. While there I saw another song that I liked so I clicked on it.
Then on that page I saw an advertisement about a new release for Justin Bieber featuring Rascal Flatts.
Let me write that again, Justin Bieber FEATURING Rascal Flatts.
Even if you're not a fan of country music or pop music you'd have to be living under a rock not to know who these people are. Justin Bieber is the pop sensation who got his start on Youtube, and Rascall Flatts has been topping the country charts for 11 years with sappy, silly, girly love songs. Think Air Supply of the Country world.
OK, so they are doing a duet, but for Justin Bieber to get top billing seems….it seems…it just doesn't seem right. I mean really, Rascall Flatts has been topping charts since Bieber was 6 years old. SIX! So why are these guys willing to play second banana to a kid who's still wet behind the ears?
The answer is because they're brilliant.
Now I understand why Rascall Flatts has been on the charts for so long with such an obvious lack of talent. (No they aren't my favs. I should say I don't like Bieber's stuff either but I find his story inspiring. To see what can happen when you just won' t give up and won't take no for an answer and are willing to work hard, well let's just say my kids are getting a copy of his movie when it comes out on DVD for sure. )
See, Justin Bieber has an entire market he has become VERY popular with. A fan base he owns. And Rascall Flatts knows they can get very real and penetrating access to that fan base by singing back up on some stupid love song for Bieber.
It's not a fan base they would otherwise have access to, and they get access with the endorsement of Bieber, a BIG thing to his fans.
They're big enough to demand billing and smart enough to be willing to play second fiddle to a child. Shrewd…very very shrewd.
If your not catching on to the genius, allow me to say it this way, Bieber has a group of customers Flatts want to get too. They understand they have to constantly be “out there” constantly expose themselves to new customers, constantly make connections with other artists and their customers. (we could go into changes in the music business that makes this critical but that for another post)
Flatts knows the old idea of just making records and getting play on country music radio ain't gonna cut it for long, and they obviously want to be around a while.
Flatts has credibility with their market and Bieber wants that (We haven't even talked about that yet. Again, for another post, perhaps.)
The way Flatts gets exposure to Biebers market is to sing “back up” for him on a song. They get billing to his market and low and behold their record sales go up!
This falls into the category, do you want to be right or rich?
You have to choose. I choose rich personally!
Flatts obviously have their ego tied to record sales and money earned, not tied to some self limiting prideful idea about “who they are.”
You know the story about the waiter and the keynote speaker at a convention. The speaker wanted more mashed potatoes, the waiter said he couldn’t have more, the speaker proudly told the waiter he was the star of the show and the waiter reminded the speaker he was the guy who controlled the mashed potatoes.
Flatts understands what it takes to make record sales, and as such they rarely have trouble finding companies to produce their records.
Bieber is managed by Usher, who is a hard working SOB himself, so I can only assume he is getting a real education about how to stay famous.
So who has access to customers you could be selling to, who could give you a real and powerful endorsement, and who would be willing if you were willing to put your pride aside and play second fiddle?