The Date: May 30, 2007
The Venue: A Sony Music recording studio on Manhattan's West Side
The Crowd: VIPs from BET, MTV, AOL and ad agencies
The Food: This wasn't that kind of upfront. Not a shrimp in sight.
The Drinks: Open bar stocked with Heineken and liquor
The upfronts are like the mob: Freeloader keeps trying to get out, but they keep pulling us back in. At least the network events are over, meaning last night's "Bad Boy Entertainment Presents the Bad Boy Upfronts" was a refreshingly different pitch.
"Happy summer to everybody," Bad Boy founder Sean "Diddy" Combs told the crowd in a Sony Music recording studio on West 54th Street in New York. "All the ladies, I see your toe game is on point," he said, gesturing toward some attendees' strappy shoes and pedicures on display. "But we're here to talk about music."
All record labels have gotten increasingly, well, upfront about marketing their acts to Madison Avenue. This event -- where music and advertising execs heard Bad Boy music planned for release later this year -- was no different.
Diddy acknowledged as much in his introduction, thanking God that he and his partners aren't in it for the money. Then again, "We put it in God's hands," he said to laughter, "and hope he comes up with an invention so we can get paid again!"
So far, God has given the labels cellphones and MySpace. A promotional reel last night touted nouveau distinctions such as "mobile platinum," along with MySpace friend counts for several featured artists, including B5, with 100,000 friends; Yung Joc, with 650,000; and "Making the Band" product Danity Kane, with a network of more than 700,000 fans.
It was a fun crowd -- Diddy and his artists did a lot of dancing even as the temperature rose in the recording studio -- but there was no mistaking that the event was about business. Young Joc's forthcoming album is titled, not incidentally, "Hustlenomics."