Joey Bada$$ is making business moves. The kid has yet to drop an album -- though his work on his mixtape, 1999 and the Pro Era tape have set high expectations -- but Mark Ecko knew enough about his movement and vision to bring him on as a Creative Director.
With a clothing line to his name, Joey is becoming a well-rounded brand all before his 18th birthday. He's the leader of a group, Pro Era, which is rapidly becoming more of a movement.
That's why Ecko brought him on more than anything else. In this upcoming era of collaboration and local branding, that has global potential thanks to the internet, businesses can capitalize on individual success. For example, there's a good chance that Joey's brand will be successful within his ever-growing organic fan base simply because his name is attached.
Whether Joey can eventually create ripples in the fashion world remains to be seen. A$AP Rocky recently revealed reasons for remaining a consumer rather than a designer, saying he didn't have any experience designing or proper schooling. But, if Joey's music following translates into sales of his hoodies and tees, he'll have enough clout and financial backing to create trends on a larger scale.
In many ways, this will be a test of the mixtape business model and the so-called sharing economy. The government recently launched a Copyright Alert System in conjunction with major cable providers that will track the downloads of music and movies and alert consumers to any illegal activity or copyright infringement. It is intended to give producers their full finanical share.
Switzerland came out in 2011 against such measures. Miles ahead of the curve, they studied the effects of illegal downloading on the entertainment industry and found that people have a finite entertainment budget and will spend the same amount regardless. Arguably, free music or movies are simply more incentive for people to spend that money on those specific brands.
Joey Bada$$ is a guinea pig for this model. By giving away so much music, the hopes are that more people will buy his album, and, now, his clothing line.
Here's a more detailed look at the day-to-day in the Ecko office. Joey's manager, Johnny Shipes, is helping manage the work while also pruning trees.