||Mick Jagger and Virgin Records Go Online to Court Younger Fans
By ANNA WILDE MATHEWS
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
November 6, 2001
Mick Jagger already has Baby Boomers under his thumb. Now, what about Generation Y?
In the weeks leading up to the Nov. 20 release of "Goddess in the Doorway," Mr. Jagger's first solo album since 1993, Virgin Records is preparing a big promotional campaign on the Web. One message the label wants to deliver to wired teens and college students: This is not your father's rock star.
Virgin is counting on the Web to help Mr. Jagger reach out to a new generation of fans in Gen Y, a marketing-savvy and Internet-focused group responsible for fueling the success of acts like Britney Spears and 'N Sync. If the gambit works, it will be a sign of the Web's effectiveness as a marketing tool as well as of Mr. Jagger's appeal.
At 58, the indefatigable Mr. Jagger is rock's marathon man. Since the early 1960s, the Rolling Stones have been one of the world's most popular live acts, even now discussing a possible tour for next year. The band also has long been a high-profile and successful example of rock 'n' roll's marriage with advertising and corporate sponsorship: It was one of the first rock acts to sign a lucrative sponsorship deal with a corporate advertiser, and it sold rights to the song "Start Me Up" for use in Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 95 ad campaign.
Last month, Mr. Jagger performed at the "Concert for New York City" benefit. Once a student at the London School of Economics, he also has recently delved into movie-making, showing up at the Sundance Film Festival this year as a producer of "Enigma," about World War II-era code breakers.
The Jagger appeal, however, remains largely untested with young music-buyers, who are critical to creating a hit record today. Virgin is hoping to connect with them both online and off, at a time when its parent company, EMI Group PLC, is struggling to shore up its stock price under new management.
In one unmistakable overture to teens, Virgin says MTV is slated to play the video for the album's first single, "God Gave Me Everything," on its teen-targeted show "Total Request Live." On the Web, Virgin plans to relaunch Tuesday an expanded edition of mickjagger.com (mickjagger.com), featuring interactive music videos, extensive documentary footage of Mr. Jagger and personal tidbits about him, such as his favorite Web sites. (Among them: sites devoted to the game of cricket, the kingdom of Bhutan and Oxford University's Bodleian Library.) An online chat session is under consideration. And Virgin is creating an electronic "jukebox" featuring samples from the new album, placing it on music Web sites and sending it in e-mail messages to thousands of music fans.
The singer wants to reach existing fans of all ages as well as new potential listeners, says Ted Mico, a new media marketing consultant for Mr. Jagger. The goal is for the site to be "entertaining in its own right," he says. "There's pretty much something for everybody, from hard-core Stones fans to people who have only heard of Mick Jagger because Britney Spears covered 'Satisfaction.' "
Mick Jagger and his record label are going online to find new fans in Generation Y, including consumers who have sent acts like Britney Spears (left) and 'N Sync (below) to the top of the charts.
This is hardly the first time an aging rocker has tried to cultivate a younger audience. Some have tried to follow the playbook of guitarist Carlos Santana, who rang up huge sales for a 1999 album, "Supernatural." Mr. Jagger has collaborated on one song with Rob Thomas, a current rock favorite from the band Matchbox Twenty who also has performed with Mr. Santana. The new Jagger album also draws on younger artists including Lenny Kravitz and hip-hop's Wyclef Jean.
Still, it will take a deft touch to appeal to people young enough to be his grandchildren, without going overboard. "Mick Jagger is a brand, and like anything else, you can take the brand to new places," says Cynthia Cohen, president of Strategic Mindshare, a Menlo Park, Calif., consulting firm. "But you can't do incongruous things to a brand and have savvy consumers accept it." Today's teenagers are especially astute at detecting pandering and fakery in marketing, she says.
Ray Cooper, co-president of Virgin Records America, says the collaborations on Mr. Jagger's new album "are going to give it really broad-based appeal." Getting broad appeal is important for "artists that aren't necessarily in the same age group" as the biggest music consumers, he says.
So far, online music fans with the most interest in Mr. Jagger's new songs appear to be into classic rock, says BigChampagne LLC, a research service that tracks the peer-to-peer music exchanges that have replaced Napster Inc. as places to swap tunes online. Users who traded Mr. Jagger's songs mostly collect music by artists like the Beatles, U2, Queen and Elton John, not teen pop.
Virgin says the Jagger campaign online will help it reach out subtly to Generation Y and other new potential fans. "If we booked him on a Nickelodeon show, that would look strange," says Ty Braswell, vice president for new media at Virgin Records. "What we're doing is pushing out the music, not using some teen gimmick."
Already, the single "God Gave Me Everything" is available for paid downloads at online retail sites. And the email jukebox Virgin is sending thousands of Web users has a photo of Mr. Jagger in a black shirt, unbuttoned to show a flash of skin.
||There's a big difference between the old official site and the new one, but to catch "Generation y" Jagger will need more than a website.
By the way, the site has so many message board when one is more than enough.
What IS new in the record nausiness ; )