Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Curious Case of Mos Def

Mos Def is a branding dream. He is a multi-disciplinary artist with an engaging personality who performs around the globe. His music and acting choices are intriguing, hip, quirky and progressive. He moves between worlds with ease, holding his own in the company of award-winning actors like John Malkovich and Adrien Brody, talking religion and nuclear weapons with Salman Rushdie and Christopher Hitchens, and spitting rhymes with Kweli and Kanye.

So where is the center of the Mos Def universe online?

Where is

It points to a MySpace page that doesn't begin to capture the breadth of his work or aptly reflect his place in the culture. Never mind that MySpace isn't reliable or trustworthy.

As a fan visiting, I want to find links to
- Buy his latest release, The Ecstatic
- "Watch Instantly" his available films on Netflix
- Browse his catalog of recordings including soundtracks
- Stream videos of him freestyling and holding court on Bill Maher

And I should certainly be able to find the "semi-exclusive" content that Google will feature as a part of its new music search feature. I understand what the benefit of Google's initiative is for Google and the music service partners.

But is it in Mos Def's best interest for me to go through Google which is going through MySpace to get his work?

My appetite for his work is pretty big. And I trust Mos Def more than I do MySpace. Why won't he directly feed more to me and the thousands of other serious fans?


  1. Sounds like he needs a new manager who has more savvy on the tech front, or he trusts the people that want to find him will. Whatever the case he operates so well in so many different realms it's hard to imagine he's lacking for publicity of his latest projects.

  2. Thanks for the comment Jackie. I agree that Mos Def certainly gets his share of publicity. Still, creative individuals (musicians, actors, writers, journalists) can use their digital properties to go beyond publicity and generate revenue-directly from fans without necessarily having to give a cut to a middleman. There's tremendous power and freedom in it.

    If I were advising him, I'd tell him to set up a business and hire a GM or COO.

  3. Excellent points. I'm also a Mos Def fan yet I only find out about new album releases months after the fact. He definitely needs a more comprehensive and user-friendly web presence.

    If Mos Def's website gave instant access to purchase his latest release, watch his movies, watch freestyle videos, and browse his catalog--there would be a whole lot of value in that for fans and potential fans.

    I wish you were Mos Def's digital media consultant.

  4. @d.BRYJ, thank you for reading. I wouldn't mind consulting Mos Def on digital media and brand. I agree that there is a wealth of untapped value online for him.

  5. He recently has spurred a lot of content on But I'm sure that's not by his own plan. Dame Dash is behind that project. Good content none the less.