Ego plus ego equals easy money

American Idol time – this week, Adam Lambert performed One by U2 – which was personally chosen by Simon Cowell, who had to obtain the express permission of Bono, apparently.

As Mike Farley at Premium Hollywood says: “I can feel the pressure of Cowell’s and Bono’s big heads swelling from here. Get over yourselves.”

How exactly did the conversation between Simon Cowell and Bono go?  Fancy making a few megabucks in downloads for doing sweet nothing, Bono?  Hardly took a lot of persuasion, I doubt.

Indeed, Edward Wyatt wrote in the New York Times this week about the business side of American Idol, which is increasing income despite the declining television viewership trend.

Forget about the artistic merits and talent-spotting (and as an Adam Lambert fan, I really think he will emerge a true star although the reality show format could enable a performing sheep to have a hit single – or become a global icon like Susan Boyle of Britain’s Got Talent).

No, this is about the American Idol brand generating phenomenal profits using a wide range of revenue streams – not only for those involved in the television show, but any artist whose music is featured.

Personally, I find the results show format tedious with all the promotion of “mentor” artists and former winners (that includes those who lost but are almost inevitably successes so far on the music scene).  But clearly, this profile boosts incomes all round.

In previous years the music featured generated sales through public interest – such as Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah soaring up the iTunes chart last year.  But now the promotion is pure hard commercialism. 

As Simon Fuller reveals iTunes is paying for the “relationship” that sees the download site profiling the songs featured in the show as well as this season’s contestants.  American Idol is bigger than iTunes!

With Adam Lambert already the hot download (according to a recent “leak” at iTunes) – undoubtedly Bono will more than cover the cost of the call to Cowell.

In the battle of the egos, it’s easy money all round.

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.