Tuesday, February 27, 2007

12 Steps to Boy Band Exploitation Profits

Big, Lou Pearlman-Sized Boy Band Money

Ever wonder how the pages of Tiger Beat keep getting filled with new material? Ever wonder how in the world, decade after decade, boy bands keep resurfacing? Ever wonder how you could cash in on this ridiculous addiction the free-world has with paying to hear limited-talent, adolescent eye candy? Check out this business model as it has worked for Maurice Starr and Lou Pearlman, and is bound to work for you...ad infinitum in 12 easy-to-follow steps:

  1. Find one to six good looking teenaged guys. At least two have to be extremely good looking. Vocal talent is preferred, but not required. Some coordination is required. Ensure that these guys AND THEIR PARENTS are sick with the desire to be famous.
  2. SELL, SELL, SELL the dream that they WILL be famous and cover the cost of a few dinners at your mansion for the families (if you don't have a mansion, borrow one. this is key to selling the dream) until they are intoxicated with ambition and yearning for the next move.
  3. Have the kiddies and parents sign the boys into artistic slavery for the next 10 years. That is, figure what you could PROFIT from exploiting this group and then offer the kids 10 percent over the course of the contract with expenses coming off the top of their compensation. As long as it is more than the parents make...maybe twice as much, you should be OK.
  4. Beware of kids with wealthy or business savvy parents. They are not worth the headache of actually being forced to do the RIGHT thing in the end. (sigh)
  5. Work the local talent circuit, send out press releases, send out slick comps and headshots, postcards. Hype up the local and state entertainment press with radio spots and interviews. Posters and appearances.
  6. Get people talking. MySpace, MySpace, MySpace. And most importantly, attract the attention of all the 10 to 18 year old girls who will be the major influence in the longevity of this new phenomena. Do all this before even recording a note of music.
  7. If all of the boys can sing, get to work on the album. If you've appropriately done the groundwork, you can now have the sessions paid for by investors who will have heard the hype and seen the band around. Or at least, their daughters will have been talking about the band. This is an opportunity to pay yourself nicely off the top of the session fees from investors. You can also consider your salary a management expense to further bilk the unassuming new band of more funds before they've even made them. It's like they've issued you debt instruments. BRILLIANT!
  8. Now the fun begins. Release the best song from these sessions as a demo for major distributors to pick up your label. By best song I mean the worst, most basic song with the standard pseudo-hip-hop soul dance track with the most annoying hook that you just can't get out of your head, and that is sung by the band member who sounds most like a female. Guaranteed hit.
  9. If possible, work out a percentage deal with the distributors based on the demand from all the groundwork you've done pre-marketing the group. A label cannot deny the response if you have the numbers to prove it.
  10. It is important that, in true Lou Pearlman fashion, you do not alter your original contract with the band in any way. The ensuing crapload of money that you will make might make you feel guilty enough to want to share the wealth a little with the band. DO NOT BREAK. If you must, buy them new jackets or new cars or give them seemingly spontaneous lump-sum payments of $500 or $1000 here and there to keep them feeling fortunate. Remember that they are your artistic slaves. You've got to hold out until the inevitable lawsuit at the end of their careers!
  11. Ride the wave of endorsements and touring cash all the way to your bank in the Cayman Islands. Remember to drop a few nuggets for your boy band slaves to pick up. Also remember to charge them for every taxi, train and plane ride. Charge them for hotel lodging and meals. Charge them for wardrobe and logistics. And of course, do not forget the management fee.
  12. Make sure that you have a plane ready and a few passports. Having them in different names might help. You'll soon need to make a quick getaway. But you can dye your hair, hire a translator, move to another country and repeat steps 1-9. It's all good.

There you have it. A sure fire way to riches. Of course you must check your conscience at the door. It would be beneficial to your success to stay away from church, and you must be sure to kick the nuns in the shin on your way down...to hell that is. Oh, I didn't mean you. I was talking to Lou Pearlman, wherever he is.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Louie Louie (Pearlman)...Shame on Youie!

The Man, The Myth, The Mediocre Music

Lou Pearlman. Can you really say that name without wincing...Even slightly? Try it. Slowly. Loooou Peeeaaarlmaaan. (mbl-buh-bluh) (I almost gagged) His is a name that evokes definite reaction one way or another. Definite slime. The story goes that he owned a charter airline company (Trans Continental) that once booked New Edition - or maybe it was New Kids On The Block. Anyway, always the opportunist, he did a quick and dirty balance sheet in his head (while they were on the plane) and thought, "I can exploit kids just as well as this Maurice Starr guy is exploiting these kids!" By Job...! OK, maybe it didn't go EXACTLY like that, but he did get the idea from the Maurice Starr bands while he was shuffling them around the country. And exploit he did.

Busy, busy, busy.

Pearlman has been busy. He has been extremely busy ripping off investors and employees in what appears to be a much more basic version of Enron. It goes like this: Get your employees to invest in what you claim to be a phenomenal opportunity to make great returns for pennies. Back it by your REPUTATION (What?). Shuffle funds around a lot to make it look legit, and then siphon funds out into your own accounts. Hmmm. Slime! But he's been busy keeping his slime machine running by producing more slime to run it. Just like Andrew Fastow did at Enron. Only Pearlman prayed on the naive dreams of young, would-be entertainment stars to create the magic beans. The most recent vehicles used to mislead were named Wilhemina Modeling, Web Style Network, and Fashion Rock. All of these were or still are Trans Continental companies. All of them prayed on the desire of youth to become famous despite their lack of talent. All of them are/were making lots of cash on the hard sell of the dream. And none of them ever came through on that promise. He also keeps company with some of the most notoriously slimy Internet entrepreneurs out there.

The End is Near

Well, Lou was finally busted. He hasn't been paying the bills at his headquarters. Investors want their cash. Employees want their cash AND PAYCHECKS! The bank moved to foreclose on his headquarters in Orlando. His house was raided. His offices were raided. A Receiver was appointed to liquidate his business assets (well, some of the businesses). His pyramid scheme was uncovered. The lawsuits are piling up AND Pearlman is nowhere to be found. He was last reported in Germany promoting his new boy band. (sigh) Yes, it appears that it is back to the basics for Lou. Starting all over again in a new country with new talent (or not). If it works, it works.


So, it's been almost 10 months since my last post. Lotsa stuff has been going on including a rehabilitated desire to create. (sigh) I've worked out a lot of stuff over the course of the last year and I think that now I'm in a pretty good place. It's amazing how we (I) have gotten into the habit of checking our (my) stasis. Am I good, tilted, empty? Well, I'm good damnit, so here we go!