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Brands and artists are pushing the music & books crossover

From books about music and musicians to songs inspired by books, music and literature have never been strangers to one another.

But, as Intellectual Property becomes one of the most valued and wanted assets, and as labels and music management companies look for more diversification, the music & literature dialogue is being pushed even further.

More than just publishing books about music, the crossover is getting more intense, as the literary works and the music are supplementing each other.

Music & books crossovers in 2020

The year 2020 ended with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation announcing a literary venture together with Random House: Roc Lit 101, intended to publish books in the “intersection of entertainment and genre-defying literature”, such as books by artists like Lil Uzi Vert, Meek Mill, Fat Joe, and others, according to Variety.

Source: Z2 Comics
Source: Z2 Comics

Other artists thriving on the music & literature crossover in 2020 were rapper Rico Nasty, and the band BTS.

Rico Nasty’s Nightmare Vacay is a sci fi comic book that accompanies her album Nightmare Vacation (2020).

In the book, Rico Nasty is in the process of preparing said album and goes into lots of adventures in space.

Nightmare Vacay publisher Z2 Comics has numerous other titles, published and in line, exploring fiction connected to music of artists such as BABYMETAL and Major Lazer.

Meanwhile, BTS’s label & manager, Big Hit, houses its own publishing company, beORIGIN. So far, they’ve released 2 books based on the Bangtan Universe (BU), the fictional universe in which many of BTS’s music videos are set.

Source: Weverse Shop

花樣年華 HYYH The Notes 2 (The Most Beautiful Moment in Life #2), released in 2020 as a sequel of 2019’s 花樣年華 HYYH The Notes 1 (The Most Beautiful Moment in Life #1), was published in 5 languages.

BTS’s cross-platform content and universe building, which expands through albums, performances, music videos, social media content, webtoons, and now books too, is pointed by fans and academic researchers as an unique trait of the band, one that can attract fans through diverse entryways besides just music.

In 2020, Big Hit also released a series of graphic lyrics books based on songs that compose the Bangtan Universe.

Albums as book soundtracks

Although not as prolific as the relationship between literature and movies, the music and books crossover is not new.

One of the oldest examples we can think of is Carole King’s Really Rosie (1975), and one of the most creative is The Mystery Kindaichi Band (1977), an album released as an imaginary soundtrack for the fictional detective Kindaichi Kosuke book series, from the mind of celebrated writer Seishi Yokomizo.

Other examples are rock band Rush’s Clockwork Angels (2012), a concept album for the same-titled book by Kevin J. Anderson, novelist and friend of the band’s drummer, Neil Peart. And in 2019, rapper Logic released the album Supermarket as a soundtrack for the novel with the same title, also written by him.

Connecting art: a transmedia strategy that can enhance Intellectual Property and boost promotions

Source: The Content Trap official website

In The Content Trap (2018), Harvard Business School Professor Bharat Anand speaks on connections between products as a way to increase opportunities to benefit from established art or content, or to revamp products from old or less profitable catalogs.

Lately, we’ve been seeing many brands and artists pushing their content strategy to a wider scope of channels, connecting various products or services to art and content, or even combining art with more art.

A joint strategy of music and book publishing is a great way to boost an Intellectual Property portfolio.

It also serves as mutual promotion for both products. By targeting different audiences (music consumers and book consumers), a joint strategy like this can generate new interest in the artist.

However, it can also be a profitable strategy even if one audience is not as interested in the artist as the other; or, in the best scenario, by offering two products for the same audience (the artist’s fans), there’s a double chance of revenue.

In all cases, there are notable benefits for a branding strategy and revenue with copyrights.

Will we see more cross-platform strategies with music and books in 2021?

We definitely hope to see more transmedia content & art in 2021, and we’re here to help you create and strategize while you protect your Intellectual Property.
At 3Três, we believe in the intersection of creative services, Intellectual Property, and communication strategies as mutually beneficial for businesses.

Get to know us at 3trescc.com

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This blog post is published for informational purposes only, and is not intended to promote any of the brands or services here mentioned. The information on this blog post is based on the laws in force at the time it was written, and its use does not create an attorney-client relationship, as this blog post does not consist of or replace legal advice neither business consultancy services.

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Ana Clara Ribeiro

Ana Clara Ribeiro

156 Followers

Intellectual Property attorney (BR). Writer of songs & content. Top Writer in Music on Medium. Consultant at 3Três Consultoria e Criação (BR).