Branding is key to success, branding is identity. Successful branding campaigns stick with the consumer in the long run: having an iconographic image represent your work is crucial. How do artists appropriate already existing types of branding – remixing and at times parodying popular logos, retaining hints of familiar corporate aesthetics, and using them to define their own look? What is the outcome of such practices? And how do concepts of counter-culture and of big business culture converge in and through them? At first glance, these two concepts appear to be polar opposites. Upon closer examination, however, one finds that they share similar business models, aesthetics, and ideologies. PC Music is, for instance, known for its hyper-glossy pop, which almost seems to mock the music that it draws from and references. Yet what happens when Sophie’s “Lemonade” is used in a McDonalds commercial?
What is the ultimate goal of developing a strong self-image? And what are the limitations of branding? How have branding strategies been incorporated into and expanded upon in the online market, where entrepreneurialism is norm, competition runs high, and everyone has the chance to present him- or herself to the world as a producer, artist, or designer? Do artists lose their ‘counter-culture’ edge as soon as they are adopted by mainstream culture? Or had they, from the onset, aspired to such mainstream appeal? Can we even speak of a fine line between these two concepts? And finally, what factors play into the popularity and success rate of artists, how can hype and trend be defined?