In his video for his summer smash “Give Me Everything,” Pitbull isn’t shy with his endorsements. In particular, Voli Vodka makes a number of appearances: at the beginning of the video, with Pitbull pouring himself a glass, unashamedly brandishing the label towards the camera, while a very sexy lady, equipped with a red dress and sly grin, reclines next to him, and later, when the drink appears in a party scene at a bar laden with the bottles (it appears to be the only drink available at this particular club) and more good looking ladies. Even the least marketing savvy viewers likely recognize that Pitbull was paid to endorse Voli Vodka, but what’s actually surprising is that Pitbull is not just a celebrity cashing a one-time check; he actually owns a stake of the company.
This weekend’s Los Angeles Times, the paper took a look at this growing trend. It’s not just Pitbull following in the footsteps of Entourage‘s Vinnie Chase, it’s also big names like Diddy (Ciroc vodka), Ludacris (Conjure cognac), Justin Timberlake (901 Tequila) becoming multi-hyphenate marketing magnets. Now, obviously, it’s beneficial to pair an influential celebrity and a brand together in order to promote a product and make sales. And with an increasing number of performers partnering with brands and even developing their own products, now the artist has even more to gain than a one-time payment for product placement. Music and product sales, it seems, are being increasingly intertwined, and the repercussions of this are not only becoming glaringly apparent, they’re painfully obvious in a “water is wet” sort of way. But haven’t we always seen the conflation of art and commerce? From the clothes artists wear to the very precise ways in which they are positioned to align with certain values is often engineered towards brand promotion — albeit more subtly than in Pitbull’s latest foray.
Did you watch the 2011 American Music Awards last night? No worries whatsoever if you didn’t, because we here at VH1 Tuner have got your back. Whether you need something to discuss with Sally from Accounting about for the 20 seconds you’re awkwardly standing together in the break room waiting for your coffee to finish brewing OR you want to make sure your pop culture game is on point at the bar tonight, we put together this handy summary of the 10 most likely events from the evening that would come up in conversation. From Christina Aguilera‘s hot mess ensemble (which we kind of loved!) to Taylor Swift‘s constant state of surprise (“Who, me?”), from the correct way to pronounce Ellie Goulding (which will come in handy if you run into Robin Thicke) to the correct answer of whether that was indeed Little Pitbull that appeared in Pitbull‘s trousers while he was mock humping J.Lo, here is the story of the American Music Awards told in ten easily digestible parts. Bon appetit!
For the last 14 weeks, we’ve been tracking the race to see which track would become this year’s Song Of The Summer. Since people consume music in so many different ways these days, our goal was to put together a democratic formula that compared how a group of over 70 songs performed across five of the primary channels that people frequently use to listen to their favorite jams: the Billboard Hot 100 (radio play & sales), the iTunes charts (pure sales), Last.fm scrobbles (listening on computer and mobile devices), the YouTube music charts (streams) and, of course, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown. Each week, we tracked how our group of competitors fared in each of these different platforms, and then added up the results.
So, without any further ado, we are psyched to announce that Katy Perry has taken home the first place prize in VH1′s first annual Song Of The Summer competition! When the summer began, it looked like Adele‘s “Rolling In The Deep” was going to be an unstoppable force, but as soon as Katy dropped her 80s-tastic “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” video during the week of June 27th, she dominated the countdown from there on out. Katy was gracious enough to film an quick speech for us while she accepted our totally awesome Song Of The Summer trophy, which we’ve got for you above.
For you completists, here is our final Song Of The Summer countdown chart (that is, until Memorial Day 2012 rolls around!). And you’re on Spotify, you can subscribe to our VH1 Song Of The Summer 2011 playlist and re-live the summer whenever you want.
We’re going to announce this summer’s winner here on the VH1 Blog on Tuesday, but before we do that, we’d love to find out what YOU, the VH1 audience, felt was this year’s Song Of The Summer. What song did you jam the most on the beach? Which track was blasting when you put your ragtop down so your hair can blow? What jam got you and your friends pumped up for a night out on the town? Vote as many times as you like in our poll below. (Oh, and congrats to You Oughta Know artist Foster The People for being only the third song all summer long to hold the top spot in our countdown with their zeitgeisty smash, “Pumped Up Kicks”!)
One of the minor instant celebrities of last night’s Video Music Awards was Tyler, The Creator‘s mother, who sobbed with pride and excitement when her son won the Best New Artist Moonman. It turns out that her on-camera presence is due in part to an unlikely VMA hero: Nathan Williams of Wavves, who claims on Twitter to have given her his Black Carpet pass. Left Brain of Odd Future seems to confirm this on his Tumblr, describing Williams as “a crazy white kid,” and further noting that Williams “sparked a blunt when [Lil] Wayne was performing and Ron Artest told him to put it out!” All that, and the premiere of I Just Want My Pants Back! featured new Wavves song “I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl,” a wish that apparently came true at the VMAs. [Tumblr]
Normally, defense lawyers tell their clients to keep their lips publicly zipped when it comes to matters like this, but the always dapper club sensation took to his website, PlanetPit.com, to tell his side of the story. He admits that when he first heard news of the lawsuit, he thought “it was very ironic,” but once he understood the severity of the allegations, he changed his tune. Pitbull claims the whole thing is just a misunderstanding over misheard and misinterpreted lyrics. “I didn’t look to defame, hurt or degrade someone else’s career,” he tells an off-camera honey. Rather, he explains that he was just attempting to keep her “relevant” and, furthermore, it’s considered a compliment to be “locked down” where he comes from. We’re not sure where you stand on this, but after watching Pitbull’s faux deposition, we’re officially on Team Pit on this one.
At this time last year, hopes for Maroon 5‘s third studio album, Hands All Over, were high. The lead single, “Misery,” had hit #1 on Billboard‘s Adult Pop chart, and since the band had convinced famed superproducer Robert “Mutt” Lange to come out of semi-retirement to produce their album, everyone looked for the band to take the leap from a well-liked, fairly popular M.O.R. band to the next level and a spot among the world’s most commercially successful bands. However, once the album finally hit streets in October 2010, the masses shrugged their shoulders and largely ignored the album. The record was certified gold by the RIAA for shipping over 500,000 copies, but worldwide sales stalled out at just 529,000 total units.
Perceived failures like this have sunk many a band in the past, but thanks to charismatic frontman Adam Levine and ten weeks of national TV exposure courtesy of NBC/Universal’s The Voice (corporate synergy at its finest!), the band has totally reversed their fortunes in less than a year. Their new track, “Moves Like Jagger,” hit #1 on the iTunes chart this week, and Levine’s featured hook on Gym Class Heroes‘ “Stereo Hearts” propelled the song to a Top 20 finish in this week’s Song Of The Summer countdown. No wonder artists like Mariah Carey (The X-Factor), Sara Bareilles (The Sing Off) and more are looking to land prime positions as judges on televised singing competition shows; it’s exactly the kind of exposure to Middle America that the flagging music business is no longer in a position to give these artists using “traditional” music channels. As Maroon 5 has proved, it’s great work if you can get it!
As for the rest of our Song Of The Summer chart —only two more weeks until we crown a champion!— kudos to Katy Perry for her ninth consecutive week in the #1 spot.
Electro-sleaze goofballs LMFAO are, at this moment, the only thing standing between Katy Perry and the history books. As we told you last week, their smash single “Party Rock Anthem” is blocking “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” from ascending to the top of the Billboard 100 chart (which would be Perry’s fifth Number One off her Teenage Dream LP). LMFAO is also currently besting Perry on the YouTube and iTunes charts, while Katy is maintaining dominance on Last.fm as well as airplay on our station. And our friends over at New York Magazine‘s Vulture just named “Party Rock Anthem”—a song they described as “a contrived, effective bit of nonsense about how ‘everybody?s gonna have a good time’”—as their current Song of the Summer.
Despite this onslaught from the progeny of Motown records founder Berry Gordy, our highly scientific formula still shows Perry atop our charts for the seventh consecutive week. While it will be incredibly difficult to topple her, it’s good to see Foster The People making a run at the Top Five. After a standout performance at Lollapalooza this weekend, their outstanding single “Pumped Up Kicks” is quickly climbing the charts; if the word “alternative” still carried any weight as a genre, there’s little doubt that Mark Foster could lay claim to the “alternative” Song of the Summer crown.
The dog days of summer are upon us, people. It’s August, it’s hot outside, and the news cycle is starting to slow to a crawl. The general sluggishness of the season is even affecting the music industry, as music fans don’t seem to be gravitating towards any new material. Instead, they seem to be content to play the same songs that they’ve had on repeat all summer long.
Case in point: Katy Perry‘s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F),” which has exhibited a stranglehold on the top of our Song of the Summer Countdown for six consecutive weeks. Her song looks to have a lock on the prize at this point, but then again, maybe The Throne (aka Jay-Z and Kanye West) can mount a last-minute challenge when their highly anticipated collaboration Watch The Throne drops next week? Stay tuned!