Celebrity Influence: Imagining Personalized Apps for Ballers and Rhymers

By P. on
December 19, 2015

Being a celebrity is big business, but not one that most are able to fully capitalize on. In order to find out information about your favorite celebrity you have to search, hunt, and dig across a variety of platforms and media. A new crop of ambitious entertainment entrepreneurs, like the Kardashian family and Tyler the Creator, are changing the game with personalized apps. With the rise of these self branded apps it raises the question: What would these apps look like applied to athletes and more rappers?


Bye Bye Tabloids

Currently, the driving force behind many of the celebrity apps popping up is Whalerock Industries. Whalerock has launched the personal apps for many in the entertainment industry including Howard Stern and the aforementioned Kardashians and Tyler the Creator. Their intent is to allow celebrities to go straight to their fanbase with news, tips, and content that previously would be reserved for publications like US Weekly or People, with some even charging $2.99 per month. These days, celebs utilize these platforms to increase their fanbase while creating deeper loyalty, however the methods and content differ drastically.


Russell Westbrook: Glimpses Into #TheLife


One of the paradigms for personalized apps is focused on lifestyle insight.  Russell Westbrook is in a position that warrants lots of curiosity. What is it like to be an NBA player? A fashion newbie? A man about town?  His brand is filled with intrigue and therefore could foster an app centered around his endeavors. For instance, as Russ travels around the US for his NBA season he could interview various style big shots in each city and post the videos. The content would be unique and engaging coming from someone outside the industry but eager to learn. Additionally, Russ could post a weekly recap of his gear with commentary on what worked and what didn’t. It would be an insider glimpse into what is going on in the head of one of the stylish men in the NBA. And it could finally give an answer to the question: What is Russ thinking when he comes out in those risky looks? I don’t know, but this app could provide answers to the exotic and, sometimes, perplexing choices of the rising style maven.


Kanye West: Wait Till I Get My Money Right

Another method of app utilization is centered on pushing product, and Kanye West is a man with a lot of product. He’s got Yeezy Season, his music, his label mates on Good Music, his wardrobe, and a seemingly endless stream of other things constantly coming out. All of these areas create opportunities for Kanye to capitalize on his fame and influence. Specifically, three key areas, shown above, represent the biggest areas for Kanye to cash in.

First off, his new collection is a source of considerable wealth for Kanye considering he gets royalties. Additionally, as more people wear his clothing it allows his voice to hold even more weight within the fashion realm. Therefore, a dedicated in-app shopping experience would allow him to get a higher percentage by cutting out the middle man and going straight to the consumer. The app shopping experience could also be more tailored to Kanye’s particular taste in appearance and functionality. The next area is obviously record sales. The app could provide amazing context around the album that often isn’t provided now with iTunes and streaming. For instance, each page could detail the circumstances surrounding the album and what was going on for Kanye. The purchase then doesn’t feel so flippant. Buying the album shifts to a feeling of purchasing a piece of history as opposed to just riding the hype. Finally, everyone knows what specific pieces Kanye wears on any given day is BIG BUSINESS. Thus, it makes sense for Kanye to capitalize on this to the fullest extent. Kanye could hire a team to work with various brands ahead of time to create outfits that he would wear and get photographed in. Then the images would be uploaded to the app with details on the pieces and links to purchase. Kanye could then negotiate a percentage of all sales based on his influence. It may sound extreme but isn’t too far off from scenarios that happen now, especially with the ability rappers have to sell product.


Tacking Back Control

Technology continues to provide a plethora of new ways to tackle old problems. With the rise of cell phone ownership in the US skyrocketing to a point where it is largely ubiquitous it makes sense to turn to apps. Kanye has been well documented in lamenting how the paparazzi unfairly profits off his image and brand, but with a shift to a personalized app he can reclaim some of the lost profits. Furthermore, the ability to provide insights into the lives of these mega-celebrities allows deeper brand loyalty which can help with further projects. It shifts the power back into the hands of the celebrities and allows for more authentic communication. You may not care about every celebrity, but for the ones you do you can pay a nominal fee and gain unprecedented access to what they’re doing, thinking, and aspiring to – that wouldn’t have been possible before. So, here is to hoping Kanye decides to get one million times more social with the public and launches an app so that it finally becomes possible to get your hands on his limited kicks!