In the music business these days, it’s not about selling the most CDs, it’s having the best sponsors. John Jurgensen tells how the Black Eyed Peas became the face of Samsung, Apple, BlackBerry, Bacardi and more, in the Wall Street Journal:
About 30 minutes into every concert on the Black Eyed Peas’ current tour, band leader will.i.am performs a freestyle rap, riffing on text messages sent by audience members. It’s a flashy solo turn for the musician who has steered the group since 1995. It’s also a moment in the spotlight for the tour’s primary sponsor, BlackBerry, which delivers the messages scrolling up two huge screens on the stage.
On its path from rootsy L.A. hip-hop troupe to pop juggernaut, the Black Eyed Peas have been escorted by a parade of corporate backers. From Coors to Levi’s, Honda to Apple, Verizon to Pepsi, brands have padded the group’s video budgets, underwritten its tours and billboarded band members in prominent places.