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Felicity Lau PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Felicity Lau

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Felicity Lau

People worldwide recognize certain figureheads just by their image.

Image acts as a person’s trademark. At times, image also doubles as a statement.

This concept holds true for all industries…

The entertainment industry is no exception.

And within that industry, the music industry relies the most heavily on image.

Regrettably, artists would be nothing without image nowadays.

Image affects artists even before they debut.

Most musicians all have one goal: to make the big time.

To be famous.

Some will do anything to get there.

Even sell their body.

Nowadays, musicians promote themselves through image rather than sound.

Pre-debut Days

Becoming a recognized artist all begins with being noticed, whether it’s by a talent scout or by accumulating a massive fan base.

They have to prove their worth.

One would assume that musicians would be recognized for their music…


When sound isn’t good enough…

Image is all you have.

Rie Takagi, a writer for the Daily Yomiuri, states “image is everything for business success in a trend-conscious city.”

Case Study: Korean Pop (K-Pop)

SM Entertainment

“80% looks, 20% talent”

-ID Concealed

JYP Entertainment

More on talent, above-average looks a plus

-ID Concealed

YG Entertainment

Mostly talent based, only average look required

-ID Concealed

Basic Debut Process

  • Scouting

  • Signing contracts


Artists sometimes agree to ludicrous terms in their contracts.These terms vary from scheduling to events, but they sometimes deal with image, too.

Instructions on how to Dress

At times, artists are required to act or dress a certain way to uphold a certain image.

Continuing on the topic of the K-pop industry…

Each group has a different image concept in order to stand out.

Although there are some outliers, the only thing that really sets these groups apart is their image.

Group concepts (in terms of sound) sometimes overlap, with fast beats and typically cutesy pop lyrics. Having a unique image is the extra push groups need to appeal to fans.

This marketing tactic is extremely effective. Fans would have a hard time keeping track of all the groups otherwise.

Image can help an artist stand out and attract fans.

However, artists and their management have to be careful about any image changes, as they can hurt the artist’s fanbase as well.

Justin Bieber lost 80,000 fans just because he cut his hair.

-Justin Bieber Zone

In the movie, “Gypsy Rose Lee,” the main characters said one thing about the entertainment industry:

“You've gotta have a gimmick.”

Nowadays, this saying is more known as:

“Sex sells.”

According to Drakes in the rightfully-titled article, “It's Not About The Music,”

''Music, like all media these days, is a business and it's all about sales and targeting your market. It's the old maxim of 'sex sells.' "

Image plays a large role in determining an artist's success level.

In fact, some music genres evolved from this idea of image in the music industry.

Rock and Image

According to Dixler, image is especially prevalent in rock because “the music alone cannot convey the rebellion, liberation, ecstasy and group dynamic that is rock.”

Visual Kei/Visual Rock

“In the mid 1990s, visual kei received an increase in popularity throughout Japan, and album sales from visual kei bands started to reach record numbers. The most notable bands to achieve success during this period included X Japan, Glay, and Luna Sea; however, a drastic change in their appearance accompanied their success.”




Luna Sea

“They don’t have chlamydia, they don’t worry about child support payments, they don’t have girlfriends or baby-mamas. They don’t have a stinky van. The fans don’t want to think about that! They want a dream, (not a man or a woman), they want a higher being, a look out of a fairy-tale. That’s why we do all the makeup and hair. It’s not about the guitars or playing A-flat in a Lydian mode.”

-Tokyo Damage Report

According to “Satoh-san”...

“It’s paramount to keep control over the image and life of the band members. Of course, times change. Now, with the recession, there’s not much money for promotion, radio ads, cable tv shows, and stuff. So the way the visual industry copes is letting the band interact with the fans a bit more – but only in the sense that the band is now responsible for doing their own promotions for free. They have to build their own fan base, the label doesn’t do it for them anymore. They email the fans and ask them to come to shows. Not unlike the host or hostess club system! It’s really prostitution.”

-Tokyo Damage Report

“Nothing is forced on them.”

Works Cited

Benefit. "Benefit - Sex Sells." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Youtube, 17 Nov. 2008. Web. 11 Aug. 2011. <>.

Dixler, Elsa. "Rock 'n' Roll." The New York Times 6 Dec. 2009, Late Edition - Final ed., BR sec.: 41. Print.

Drakes, Shellene. "IT'S NOT THE MUSIC." The Toronto Star 23 May 2000, 1st ed., Life sec. Print.

Works Cited

Justin Bieber Zone. "Rumor: Justin Bieber Losing 80,000 Fans Because He CUT His Hair? — JUSTIN BIEBER ZONE." Justin Bieber FanSite // Latest News, Pictures, Songs, Music Videos, Tickets 2011. Justin Bieber Fanzone, 25 Feb. 2011. Web. 11 Aug. 2011. <>.

Sky News. "'Sex Sells' - Gabrielle On Perfect Bodies." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Youtube, 2 Oct. 2007. Web. 11 Aug. 2011. <>.

Takagi, Rie. "J-WAVE; Flies High; On Image." The Daily Yomiuri [Tokyo, Japan] 20 July 1992: 7. Print.

Works Cited

Tokyo Damage Report. "Tokyo Damage Report » Interview with an Ex-Visual Kei Record Executive." Tokyo Damage Report » Interview with an Ex-Visual Kei Record Executive. Tokyo Damage Report, 1 Mar. 2010. Web. 26 July 2011. <>.

"Visual Kei." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia. Web. 11 Aug. 2011. <>.

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