Taylor Hicks, the Economics of Celebrity: Soul Patrol Style

July 13, 2008

Taylor Hicks recent news concerns the early release of his CD titled, “Early Works”. This being a compilation album containing most but not all of the songs from the two pre-reality show CDs that Mr. Hicks had created. Now certainly fans of his have likely already purchased “In Your Time” and “Under the Radar”. earlyworksI never bought the “In Your Time” because the price was too high. For the most part you’d pay anywhere from $25.00 and up and it contained only about seven songs, three were covers.

Having taken economics in college, I understand the whole concept. Price regarding a product, it’s all about supply and demand, baby. That’s what drove that little body of work to become such a pricey little collector piece. I got that. I made the decision not to buy it though for that very reason. Besides you could hear those tunes on-line whenever you wished for the most part. Now Boogie Board moderator and past Gray Charles poster, and of course, obviously, big Taylor Hicks’ fan, AmyH outlined her emotions in her blog, “Crafty Peaches” which I read today. I enjoy AmyH’s writings, and she covers in a very diplomatic way the concept of the past CD market prices and the current Taylor Hicks CD that is simply a compilation of past tunes.

AmyH’s point carries much food for thought regarding the concept of cost, how price can fluctuate with demand. She is left feeling somewhat conflicted regarding have paid that $25.00 for the “In Your Time” when now, sans a few tunes such as “Hell of a Day”, which is on Taylor Hicks’ post-Idol Wal-mart edition CD, you can have both CD’s on one plastic disc for much less. Quandary for the conflict, did Mr. Hicks use market strategy in the pricing of his music? Of course he did. It’s business. Now did he charge those high prices back then with a scheme in mind to re-release the two CD’s onto one? That I’m not sure of, I think this new release of the “Early Works” was something cooked up in the not so distant past. In fact, I could see this being something decided upon when Mr. Hicks first CD from his stint on Idol was not met with the kind of reception that had been anticipated by many fans as well as Mr. Hicks. You know, go back to the drawing board, so to speak.

It is rather pointedly coincidental that with Mr. Hicks taking this role in “Grease”, the resulting positive exposure he’s reaping from this gig, that this compilation CD is released now. Certainly Mr. Hicks could have anticipated the potential need to have something relatively immediate to offer his fans and potential new fans. An offering to exemplify the product he created before Clive Davis and 19E got their talons into him. Perfect ideology for a lead in for any new works to be released as well.
Think about this too, soon after season five ended of America Idol, Taylor Hicks was approached to do a book, a ‘life story’ type to describe how he went from ‘there’ to ‘here’ sort of thing. Granted he’s a young man and had plenty of experiences to talk about, but he is a tad young for a “Life Story” type of novel. Thing is he knew there was a market out there who would buy it. When the book first came out to the tune of about $25.00 his Idol fans were snatching it up and even buying large quantities to ship to the U.S. troops overseas – still do. Time was right to have such a piece of material out, you know that adage, strike while the fire’s hot, no matter how brief, time-wise the man’s career truly was, to date. Think about it, ten years as a struggling musician…ten years goes by in a heart blip when you consider how quickly time seems to pass when your children grow up in the span from one to ten years old.

So any fans that may bemoan having spent triple the cost of the “Early Works” CD in the past for that real very early work, “In Your Time”, look at what you possess as a fan. You bought something that was the authentic Early Works in its original format. I’d recommend that possibly you save those CD’s and purchase this new version to play in your home or car and save the others for what they really represent – memorabilia and collector’s items. Too think of them as what else they represent; a study in business and economics, supply and demand.

Life should be a learning event, just ask Taylor Hicks. He’s now entered into another supply and demand venture. Reading over on his myspace was this announcement:

Friday, July 11, 2008 Share Some “Summer Lovin’” With Taylor Hicks!
“Hey Soul Patrol Members, Membership has it’s privileges. Make sure you take advantage of the Meet & Greet packages available exclusively to fan club members for a limited time as they will soon be made available to the general public! Not a Soul Patrol Member? Join now to take advantage of this exclusive offer. Don’t wait, because Taylor will be gone just like “Greased Lightnin'”…

Besides reading on the thick slice of Velveeta side, the writer of that blog post sounds like a carnival barker, “Come one, Come all, take your chances!” What this post is alluding to is how fans can now lay out to the tune of $475.00 tickets for two to “Grease” and a brief, I think it’s ten minutes, meeting with Mr. Hicks in his dressing room. It also invites anyone interested to join the Headquarters site, which is about $25.00 too, I think. I have never joined that site, abstaining from paying fan sites one of my many quirks. Certainly with the positive New York press and the havoc that has apparently been being created on the Broadway Fan Boards regarding Taylor Hicks this latest development in Soul Patrol economics doesn’t surprise me. Once again Mr. Hicks is going to strike while that Soul Patrol Iron is hot and Greased.

Many of his fans will likely become enthusiastic at this prospect of meeting the man face to face and having a quiet little sit-down. It would beat the usual fan frenzy after the show settings or the rushed Meet and Greet formats in mass venues. I can’t knock the guy for doing it, time will tell how well this works out for him. I don’t know of anyone else in the Broadway market who has ever done this, but then I’m not an expert on celebrity events. I will say the whole concept while thought out as perhaps a fan perk as well as a way to justify the man’s ten minutes just sits sideways with me. I find this more conflicting to embrace than the idea of purchasing the “In Your Time” for $25.00 versus “Early Works” for about $11.00. It just smacks of allowing yourself to be ‘pimped’ out and I don’t like to think of Taylor Hicks in that manner. Perhaps the semantics of this new development being a little over thought by myself. After all, the art of celebrity is a business, and that lesson in economics always holds true. thgreased
“Let’s Make Lots of Money” aka “Opportunites”