What’s Next In The Convergence of Black Music, Advertising and Tech?

June 27, 2011  |  

The month of June means several things to many people, not least of during which is the official start of the summer equinox.  But the long, warm days also usher in Black Music Month as well – no doubt a concoction to help drive sales, the annual commemoration is nice one nonetheless, as it provides the perfect backdrop for a variety of events and performances celebrating the genre. This year it seems as though there are a few who are taking advantage of Black Music Month  to connect a few business dots and leverage it into enhanced visibility and discussion.

In fact, I’ve just been invited to a rather hush-hush evening which will take place right at the end of the month’s festivities.  This gathering should prove to be an interesting one indeed, for it spotlights an area which is certainly undergoing a powerful convergence at the moment: the integration of cross-cultural lifestyle/entertainment, emerging tech platforms and the advertising sector.

The dynamics taking place are so profound, that the landscape will certainly never look the same again.  But whether this disruption will yield large benefit or titanic losses will simply depend upon the manner in which the major players in the game choose to move the chess pieces.

The event in discussion  is that from DraftFCB (an advertising agency whose clients include such brands well-known to the urban community as MillerCoors, KFC, Kmart and Sony).  DraftFCB has tapped R&B recording artist Ryan Leslie  to discuss the implications of digital media, fittingly, during Black Music Month. Most readers here will already be well-familiar with the fact that Leslie was an early pioneer in utilizing social media to leverage his musical talents and document his journey to obtaining a record label deal.

It is this and more which he will discuss with power players in the industry at a the offices of one of the most powerful tech players in the world.  And if the moment is truly seized properly, the event should lead to a much-needed dialogue regarding the present business  opportunities within this convergence as well as those on the horizon.


First, it is no secret that African-Americans and Latinos out-index within the digital media space.  Whether examining mobile expenditures and feature usage, to population percentage represented on Twitter to largest growth market for on-line usage and ownership of Smartphones; analysts such as myself consistently discover that it is people of color who create the greatest percentages (and I have no doubt that once Cloud services and 3D phone ramp up, this same demographic will continue this phenomenon).

In terms of product consumption, respected research group Target Market News has consistently demonstrated the powerful buying power of African-Americans.  This same demographic also leads in entertainment trends, helping to influence digital sales charts and popular culture on a global level.  And it is not surprising that one of the most significant insights about our demographic’s youth segment is that  entertainment affirms the segment’s lifestyle due in large part to the fact that it’s one of the few areas (including sports) where we’ve have seen the consistent ability to excel on one’s own terms.

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