Mariah Carey’s Imperfect Angel: The CD That Thinks It’s a Magazine

As it moves further away from anything that even remotely resembles the music business, it’s beginning to look like the music industry is in deeper doo doo than we ever thought.


Not to be thwarted by declining record sales, Island Def Jam’s top gun Antonio “L.A.” Reid is introducing an advertising model into his artists’ CD booklets. Starting with the release of Mariah Carey’s Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel, slated for September 15, fans will be treated to a 34-page mini-magazine that will include lifestyle ads from Elizabeth Arden, Angel Champagne, and the Bahamas Board of Tourism, among others.


‘We sell millions of records, so you should advertise with us,’ ” said Antonio “L.A.” Reid, IDJ’s chairman. “My artists have substantial circulation–when you sell 2 million, 5 million, 8 million, that’s a lot of eyeballs. Most magazines aren’t as successful as those records.”

Along with the ads, the Mariah Mag, co-produced by Elle will include photos of Mariah, as well as editorial about the artist, lyrics, and liner notes. If the Mariah test case goes well, the label will set up similar, and broader, CD booklet deals for Rihanna, Bon Jovi, Kanye West, and other artists. Def Jam is the first label to embark on such a venture.

According to Billboard:

“The booklets were created for the first run of U.S. CDs (1 million) and the first 500,000 overseas, said Jeff Straughn, svp-strategic marketing for Island Def Jam Music Group. It will also be available in a digital format for those who buy music online. A condensed version of the Mariah mag, sans the 14 pages of CD-specific material, will be inserted into 500,000 subscription copies of Elle‘s October issue, which arrives mid-September.”

L.A. Reid must have given this some serious thought. If people aren’t going into the music section to buy music, and there really are no music retailers anymore–this move offers him the opportunity to move his product out of the music section and into other key areas in big boxers like Wal-Mart and Target. Wal-Mart will display Carey’s latest project alongside her new fragrance, Forever.

But it’s a wonder just how successful this project will be, with Carey’s first single “Obsessed,” not faring very well on radio or in iTunes. It’s also gotta hurt, maybe just a little, that the release date was pushed from August 25 to September 15. Fans can turn on you in a blink of an eye if you don’t deliver what you promised, when you promised it.

Still, there’s no question that Def Jam’s latest business model is a clever one. But let’s keep it real, the albums are going to have to sell for the advertisers to get a return on their investment. If Mimi mini mag–well, Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel to be fair–sucks as much as Glitter did (both the movie and the album), advertisers won’t come back for those bigger deals with the other artists that Reid is pushing.

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About the author

Lynne d Johnson is a Content + Community Consultant developing content and community strategies that help brands better tell their stories and build better relationships with people toward driving brand awareness, loyalty, and purchase intent. She has been writing about tech and media since the Web 1.0 days, most recently about how the future of consumer interactions will be driven by augmented reality and wearable tech.