Would you risk your brand to be apart of the biggest annual musical performance in the world?
Recently, it was announced that Maroon 5 would headline Super Bowl LIII. The event takes place in Atlanta in February and comes in the wake of Colin Kaepernick still not being employed by the NFL.
As a hub of Southern hip hop, artists Travis Scott and Big Boi of Outkast are set to be featured artists on the show.
Hip Hop has always been the voice of the voiceless. Starting in the streets of the Bronx and extending across the globe, the musical art form at times has been the only weapon of the powerless.
However, today, the fanbase is so diversified globally that many of the artists now deem their core base to be general market.
I tend to disagree.
Until social media, SoundCloud, combined with Musical.ly to bypass commercial radio, normally you had to develop a regional fan base. These people think like the artist, live like the artist, and share a culture.
Once the world discovers the true talent of the artist, it is a pivotal decision to stay the course artistically or move with the new legion of fans.
Travis Scott is a Texan from Houston. His music is more futuristic fusion that is part of the vanguard shepherded by Kanye West.
Like West, Scott is betrothed to a Kardashian and is now a pop culture star. As such he is way more Los Angeles than Houston currently.
Big Boi is from a now legendary Atlanta based hip hop group called Outkast. Rooted in the Southern struggle, Outkast brought color and texture to a traditionally rigidly masculine hip hop culture.
Standing in arms with Colin Kaepernick is just as hip hop as the music itself. Defiance is at the core of the culture and many other artists declined the offer to perform at this year’s Super Bowl.
The fact that Scott agreed, given that the NFL must contribute to charities of his choice, feels like a hollow gesture. Also, Big Boi being added for no additional compromise on the behalf of the NFL seems shallow as well.
The residual effect of Super Bowl visibility is enormous for concert bookings, radio play adds, and much more. However, the psychological effect on your true fans can be negatively polarizing.
I can only remind all artists that when you abandon your true core supporters for the casual fan and larger marketshare you run a huge risk.
After all, do you want to be revered forever or visited at the performing graveyard region of Las Vegas? The choice is yours and can spell your forever.