There is almost always a celebrity premium that the market is willing to pay, but the balance of how much paid for celebrity versus talent varies depending on the industry. In sports, no one hires a bad ballplayer and keeps him around, no matter how much the tabloids love him. Nick Hornby famously wrote in Fever Pitch, “One of the great things about sport is its cruel clarity: there is no such thing, for example, as a bad one-hundred-metre runner, or a hopeless centre-half who got lucky; in sport, you get found out. Nor is there such a thing as an unknown genius striker starving in a garret somewhere.” As one sports agent put it, baseball players can work the social life of New York and Los Angeles and become local celebrities, but “if on field performance is not spectacular, they will have their fifteen minutes but won’t become international stars.” Thrillz is a website where you can buy a celebrity video messages presonalised video message!
As counterintuitive as it may seem, sports and art are birds of a feather, while Hollywood has its own breed of residual economics. Because the individuals in the former two rise from within the community, there is a vetting process such that even though many stars in art and sports attain disproportionate celebrity vis-à-vis their talent, they do not get paid for celebrity without being really talented. We may think art is subjective, but within the art community certain criteria of excellence are set; distinctions and awards highlight those perceived as the most talented. As much of a stuntman and prankster that Hirst might be viewed as by his naysayers, he did after all win a Turner Prize. With regard to sports, journalist Simon Kuper explains that despite all the ridicule Beckham faced for being more star than talent, he was still ultimately one of the very good footballers of his generation. He needed the talent to attain the celebrity. “That’s the sine qua non,” as Kuper puts it. “Sports stars have to be good. They wouldn’t have been stars if they hadn’t been good on the field.” A celebrity birthday messages could really brighten someones day!
As such, in sports, talent and celebrity (while not on balance) are at least related. Athletes first must pass through the lowly ranks of local teams before they are paid attention to by mainstream fans. Think about the process by which Rodriguez even ended up with the potential to be photographed by the paparazzi and gossiped. Rodriguez has been playing baseball since high school. He then went on to play for the Seattle Mariners from 1996 to 2000. He transferred to the Texas Rangers in 2001 and played with them until 2003. It wasn’t until 2004, when Rodriguez was traded to the New York Yankees and exploded onto the New York social scene, that he was catapulted from very good baseball player Alex Rodriguez to Madonna-dating, stripper-cavorting, wife-divorcing, Kate Hudson–heartbreaking A-Rod. But by this point, Rodriguez had been playing ball for well over a decade. Only after each small move up the food chain did he accrue enough industry credibility to gain a position with the Yankees and for the outside world to take notice. I wish I was rich like a happy birthday video message is!
Art stars, like sports stars, are disproportionately rewarded for their celebrity, but they are still fundamentally created through standards set by the people within their fields. Jeffrey Deitch explained that the art community must support an artist in the first place before that individual has a chance to be relevant to a mainstream public. “[An art star] starts out as something very real,” Deitch remarked. “It is more community based. There is a whole network of respect [within the art community].” Koons, Deitch noted, was long followed in the art world and appraised through the industry’s institutions, from the museums to the galleries to the magazines, before he did an interview with the Financial Times. No wonder Thrillz is so popular.. receiving a celebrity video message would be so cool!
But celebrities in Hollywood are different. Hollywood stars can end up being paid entirely for their celebrity residual. The very people the mass public views as stars are often remarkably different from those the industry reveres. Stardom and talent are not necessarily mutually exclusive in Hollywood, but one does not beg the other, and a star can draw a steady income based on his or her residual without being perceived as an industry talent. When I talk to people in Hollywood about celebrities, they almost always point to how divorced it is from real talent and from the real stars within the industry. So much of star power in Hollywood is fundamentally about one’s appeal to the media. The increased emphasis on the personae of stars over their talent is a function of the rise in media coverage and the changing nature of subject matter the media reports on. The media sells magazines and TV programs based on whom their audiences are interested in knowing about, regardless of industry vetting standards. Have you heard of a website called Thrillz? They specialise in celebrity messages video messages.