Jay-Z and Gwyneth Paltrow are two heavyweight icons of pop-culture impacting the industries of music, film, TV, books, and now with the addition of Jay-Z’s Life + Times website, both superstars are drawing eyeballs and unique visitor metrics to their “lifestyle” websites, the status symbol that is quickly replacing the Bentley as the ultimate must-have.
Jay and Gwynie are both hugely popular and wildly wealthy, especially if you also throw their respective spouses’ incomes and net worth into the revenue mix, musical giants Beyonce and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin. Private jets, Maybachs, helicopters and yachts routinely shuttle these entertainment power-ranking uber stars to and fro their palazzos and pied-a-terres in Paris and Tuscany, New York and London. For globe-trotting superstars, it really is a small luxury world after all. But the Internet is really the platform of choice to increase their global footprint.
Of course, the original purveyors of lifestyle influence talk shows were those dames of daytime: Martha Stewart, the home decorating and home entertaining diva, and Oprah, the talk show guru and lifestyle publisher. Oprah’s reach is vast and varied, from magazines to books, network TV to film, Internet to new cable channels. Although Martha’s star faded a bit after a stint in the clink for lying to federal investigators about insider-trading, she’s rebounded quite nicely, and both women are still the reigning queens of lifestyle influence, especially amongst a certain demographic and generation of women, viz., the boomers.
But, Oprah’s influence, unlike Martha who lost control of her media empire, has spread well beyond her own viewership and readership. Indeed, her highly regarded production company has spawned the likes of Rachael Ray, Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz, as well as producing numerous movies. Such successes have seen Oprah’s income don gossamer wings and float up close to $400 million annually.
Gwyneth Paltrow then, ever the protean multi-hyphenate, was motivated a few years back to get in on this Interweb craze, and savvy enough to make her big launch announcement for her lifestyle website “GOOP” like some junior Oprah or Martha (even if the GOOP newsletter does seem like a straight lift from Daily Candy). No matter, her fans are delighted to discover her recommendations for fashion, food, and to help keep her website sticky which is what marketers appreciate. Bringing us to Jay-Z: kid is just blowin’ up (I’ve been trying to use that phrase for like six months), and his star keeps rising with him producing, performing, investing heavily in fashion houses and sports franchises and cashing monster checks (he’s got 99 problems, but being rich ain’t one) with his net worth at almost $500 million. And, now this truly unique website.
Where Ms. Paltrow’s GOOP seems cute and cuddly and Gwynie-centric, Jay-Z’s lifestyle launch has an edgy élan, wielding a sharp cultural blade that cuts an urbane swath into areas that foodies, businessmen, musicologists, writers, and car aficionados alike will appreciate. He doesn’t have a single piece of content with his name on it (so far), save for one Twitter pic that has the initials ‘SC’ (Shawn Carter) on it. His website seems genuinely absent from self-promotion (well, at least shameless self-promotion), but has a wealth of content to promote Jay-Z’s lifestyle featuring interviews with trendsetters like forward-thinking chefs (Daniel Boulud), art, sports, designers and musicians (Little Dragon). Gotta hand it to the Roc-A-Fella Records founder … he’s got quite the interesting lifestyle.