By: Justin Donnini
“We did the Men in Black soundtrack. Boom. We sold 10 million of those things. That’s right. [But] the glasses Will Smith wore, [those] sold more than the album.”
-Steve Stoute in reference to the Ray Ban Predators
Steve Stoute is the legendary manager who helped Nas become one of the most influential artists of all time. He is a man who can see opportunity and capitalize on it. Today, he is bringing that vision into his new entrepreneurial venture called “United Masters”.
During an interview with “Rap Radar”, Stoute brought up the business relationship between Kanye West and Adidas. Back in 2013, West and Adidas partnered, allowing West to design his line of clothing and sneakers with the company. Not many people thought this partnership would be a good idea. After all, Kanye was an unpredictable “diva” with a lot of negative baggage. There was no way this could be a good move for Adidas.
Oh, but it was.
When Kanye announced the partnership in 2013, Adidas rang up over €14 billion in gross revenue. Since the collaboration, Adidas has seen a steady year over year return, due in large part to the popularity of products like the “Yeezy” shoeline. At end of the company’s fiscal year in 2016, Adidas boasted €19 billion in gross revenue.
The numbers just don’t lie.
Kanye’s name and influence have clearly had a profound effect on the success and social relativity of the company. By associating itself with a superstar, Adidas has been able to drive sales and stand out against their competitors. Everyone knows that Kanye brings attention, no matter what he does or where he goes. By collaborating with Kanye, Adidas created their own niche market; culture driven music fans.
The formula is honestly quite simple. When people see Kanye rocking anything Adidas, they are going to want to do the same. As a superstar of our culture, he creates trends. Period. Therefore, if Kanye wears Adidas, then fans of Kanye will wear Adidas.
Steve Stoute is one of the people who truly understands how impactful crossing a music label and an advertising agency can be. He has seen the correlation between the two and is taking advantage of his ingenuity by applying this same formula with other artists and brands. These two industries are constantly on the cutting edge of culture, and combined, they become a powerhouse of influence.
This creates an interesting opportunity for the entertainment industry and the selling of products. Artists and brands can use each other to make money and form a social dent in the world of clothing & merchandise. With music more influential than ever, it’s fascinating to be able to create partnerships, like the one between West and Adidas, and see which ones spring up and grow.
Gross Revenue: total revenue received before any deductions or allowances, as for rent, cost of goods sold, taxes, etc.
Business Venture: invested in by one or more individuals or groups with the expectation of the business bringing in a financial gain for all backers
Edited by: Kevin Pollard