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Legacy Hip Hop Tours Sell Well! Why? Brand Management Tells Us All!


I want to talk to you about hip hop today.

Legacy hip hop is selling well.

I saw the question asked, why this is happening. 

To me, the answer is pretty simple…but let’s look at it so that you can apply it in your business because the same situation applies in sports, rock or other music, theatre, and other art forms. 

Let’s visit my brand management classroom for a few minutes. 

Legacy acts have more brand awareness: 

These acts have had decades to build up recognition. 

From a practical standpoint, this enables them to get a bigger launch for any tour commit to. 

Right now, Travis Scott is a big name. 

He’s also seeing his tickets sell for $10 or so on the secondary market in a lot of markets. 

There are a number of reasons for that, but for our purposes:

  • Sneakerheads snapped the tickets on spec. It wasn’t real demand. 
  • Travis Scott didn’t get a huge push of media at the launch of his tour. 
  • Travis Scott’s target market is likely the part of the market that has spent their COVID savings and are struggling with higher credit card bills right now. 

On the other hand:

  • Macklemore’s tour has been selling pretty well. Partly, some of the markets aren’t hitting big markets and he’s had a long time to build a larger fan base. 
  • Post Malone went on tour this year and was on the Today Show. Why? He’s big enough that the average audience of morning TV knows him. 
  • People over 50 spent $8.3 trillion dollars last year. They are the market for LL Cool J or Snoop Dogg. Or, a lot of other legacy hip hop artists. 

Legacy acts have brand equity:

What’s brand equity: Brand Equity is the value of your brand through the associations, feelings, and expectations that the market has for you, good or bad. 

Legacy acts have had a chance to build this over the years. 

  • You see Jay-Z is coming to town, you expect a banging show. That’s brand equity. 
  • LL Cool J’s hats and physique signals it is him. You don’t want to miss LL. That’s brand equity. 
  • Before he lost his mind, Kanye could slap his name on sneakers and slides and sell out instantly. Why? An expectation of quality and cool. That’s brand equity. 

Younger acts are still working on creating these associations. 

They may have one hot song, one great album, or one signature move, but you don’t build a brand on just one thing. 

This is part of the reason that a new Broadway musical or show has a difficult time breaking through. 

You don’t know the songs. 

No one knew the songs of Wicked at the start. For the first six months, it wasn’t always a hot show. 

There was some brand equity from The Wizard of Oz, but it wasn’t as tightly connected to the musical as we might have expected from the outside. 

Or, to flip it, look at Frozen. It had a lot more room to launch due to the brand equity that the film and other uses by Disney had built up. 

This is why it is easier to sell tickets to The Rolling Stones, Madonna, or LeBron James…they all have built up substantial brand equity. 

It is a marker for people. A symbol of quality. 

Legacy hip hop has it. New artists are building it. 

Catalog = Quality:

The catalog is another way of highlighting the brand awareness and the brand equity. 

The other thing the catalog does for an artist is it symbolizes the quality of their career. 

If Dre went on tour, you’d expect to hear things like:

  • “Nuthin’ but a G thang”
  • “Still D.R.E”
  • “The Next Episode”
  • “F… with Dre Day”
  • “Let Me Ride”
  • “California Love”
  • “Keep Ridin’” 
  • “Been There, Done That”

That’s before you get into the stuff that I couldn’t even name off the top of my head. 

That’s a symbol of quality. 

That’s why a big catalog does for an artist. 

It is also makes it a lot easier to sell tickets. 

Because people know that they are going to get some bangers. 

Replace Dre with any of your favorite artists, musicians, or shows.

I even own a few old CDs from my favorite Broadway musicals, I’m looking at you Avenue Q. 

Putting these things to work in your organizations:

1. Understand that brand building is a long-term project. 

Legacy hip hop acts can still sell because most of them didn’t neglect their brands over the years. 

Jay-Z has one of the best managed brands in the world. 

This doesn’t mean you can only put on legacy shows, but it does mean that you need to build a brand for your team or your organization that stands for a certain level of quality. 

Tottenham Chairman, Daniel Levy talked about Spurs playing “free flowing and attacking football.” 

When he hired Nuno, Jose, and Conte, that was jarring because they are the opposite of that. 

You might be running a theatre and you want your community to see your products as creative, innovative, and fresh. 

Make sure your programming reflects that. 

2. Make your brand known. 

Awareness is the biggest issue most of us are dealing with. 

This is why I tell you I pick an enemy like discounts and the organizations that push discounting as a solution to your attendance issues. 

“You’ll get them in the door and they’ll come back and pay full price.”


I’ve yet to see it happen. 

It might. 

I haven’t seen it yet. 

Instead of parlor tricks like discounts, focus on brand awareness. 

You do that with top of funnel, emotional campaigns that dig into the things that move people:

  • Joy
  • Excitement
  • Love

That’s how your brand will become known. 

Do that! 

3. Don’t skimp on the quality marques. 

At every turn, show the quality of what you are offering. 

I’ve been pissed off for years about how so much sports, Broadway, arts marketing hits the same lame notes. 

You can strip the brand names out of most of the campaigns and they’d look the exact same. You couldn’t tell who you were buying if you didn’t see the name. 

Each game is a world class performance, one of a kind. 

Each time a show goes on, it is unique. 

These performers are top notch, world class, and professional. 

Never run from that. 

Sell it! 

That’s the value. You create more of it by highlighting it. 

Do you have any question?

Class dismissed! 

You made it this far, will you share this with one person that needs a refresher in brand management 101 for tickets?

Share Talking Tickets! 

My latest free webinar is on one of the most common ticket questions I receive, “How can I make the secondary market work for me now?

A few fun things going on with me in online.

Do you have a question about your brand? Let me know. I’ll try and work some of the best into a future issue of the newsletter or the podcast.

Just a head’s up, The Coalition for Ticket Fairness is hosting a dinner in London on 9 November at Steak and Company.