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The Lady Gaga Business Model

Professor Martin Kupp of Berlin’s European School of Management and Technology has published a case study on pop queen Lady Gaga.

Lady Gaga holds many lessons for young business people, argues ESMT Professor Martin Kupp who recently published a case study on the American pop singer.

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(Prof. Martin Kupp)

In an interview published on the school website, Prof. Kupp says he chose the singer as the subject of a case study because she is “the most successful contemporary entertainer”. Lady Gaga’s has sold more than 15 million albums worldwide, and her last CD ‘Born This Way’ sold one million copies in the first week after its release.

Prof. Kupp, who recently published “The Fine Art of Success”, a book about the lessons businessmen can learn from artists, points out that Lady Gaga uses social media to create a community. She has the most popular account on Twitter, with over eleven million followers: "Social media is not a one-way communication and I think Lady Gaga understands that," Kupp said in an interview to Reuters. "It's more about emotions, engagement and interactivity, so she's very advanced."

“Moreover, from a business point of view, the way Lady Gaga is produced differs from other artists”, adds Prof. Kupp, who describes the pop star as an example of “the new business model of the 21st century music industry, in which music companies share a proportion of revenues from every aspect of the artist's business”.

Lady Gaga creates continuous publicity through different engagements from music to fashion and the arts, explains Kupp. She “blurs the industry boundaries and it's not really clear if she's a musician, artist or fashion designer."

At a time when the music industry is struggling to compete with free Internet download, Lady Gaga has showed that “it's not only about music but also about concerts, merchandising, art, fashion, media and daily life". Her label Interscope Records shares a portion of her income from all of her different commercial activities, adds Kupp.

The case study teaches students the elements of strategic innovation, how one can shake up an established industry by having new answers to strategic questions like “who is the customer”, “what do I offer this customer” and “how do I create value for the customer and myself”. The case study also examines the way new technologies like social media can be used as tools for innovation.

Click here for the interview with Prof. Kupp and to find out more about the “Lady Gaga: Born This Way” case study, which was co-authored with Jamie Anderson and Jörg Reckhenrich of Antwerp Management School. 

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