Marketers Find Success With Urban Music Fans
Edited By Kate Mason
Flip on MTV any time of day and expect to see homeys and honeys flossing, flowing, rolling and bling-blinging.
If you haven't a clue what all this means—you're probably not alone. But no doubt, hip-hop music—and the somewhat exclusive jargon that accompanies and defines it—is growing in popularity.
And if direct marketers plan to reach this ripe, young market, they're gonna have to learn "wassup."
"In the past few years, the Vibe subscriber list has doubled—from 300,000 to just over 600,000 currently," says Eileen Hilbert, who manages the magazine's subscription list for MSGi Direct. Vibe magazine chronicles and celebrates American urban music—including hip-hop beats—and the style and culture it reflects. Its readers are best described as young, single, educated, urban and evenly split genderwise.
And with an average household income of $46,700, their purchasing power is both impressive and proven: In the past year, these music fans purchased more than 18.1 million units of pre-recorded music and have contributed close to $138 million to the video game industry. "Most subscribers are single, without a family or house payments to take care of … this gives them a little disposable money in their pockets," adds Hilbert.
Hip-hop's growing popularity and appeal are easily recognized by music clubs, particularly BMG and Columbia House, the two largest and most ubiquitous. "There's an increasing amount of consumers subscribing to the urban music select we offer," says John Ahern, director of list media services at BMG Music. In fact, since BMG began offering the Rap/Dance (hip-hop) select seven years ago, the number of members purchasing from this genre has grown substantially—from 100,000 to 800,000, asserts Ahern."The names available are seemingly endless, and they continue to grow."
Columbia House, which offers a popular music select, features an attractive subscriber list as well. With a median age of 31, a median household income of $40,000 and an educational background, the demographic is targeted by a number of mailers, reports List Services Corp., which manages the Columbia House list.
While hip-hop music has proven to transcend race and gender, the average fan, like many of the artists themselves, is decidedly young. They also crave the "latest" everything—from music to gear to high-tech electronics. "They want to look good," says Britt Bean, vice president of data management at American List Counsel, which manages the BMG Music member lists. "They're into anything popular, anything cool and whatever's the rage. This group is very 'in the know' … they're interested in anything trendy, and increasingly, anything high-tech."
Products that sell to this demographic include: