PILOT Part 1: Meeting with Thomas Christian ACT 2

Thomas Christian thinks it is a joke. Where he comes from it takes years for a new artist to break $50 Million and the most money an artist has ever generated "per head" was Taylor Swift who earns about $17 in merch revenue at each show. Modern Material is estimating $150 per head?

 

 

THOMAS CHRISTIAN

You're kidding, right?

Thomas laughs and looks at the women like they are crazy.

If we walk into Millennial Music Global with that number they are going to laugh us right out of the board room.

 

 

ALEXANDRA MARTINIQUÉ
No, not really. In fact we think we are playing it safe but we don't want to jump the gun. Willa West has sold out 50 arenas. Those are customers we can guarantee will want to buy something. She has 20 Million followers on Instagram and YouTube. Many of them from Jamie's Beauty Blog. Some fans might only spend $10 on a tube of lip gloss and some of them might spend $5,000 on Gucci and Prada handbags.

 

THOMAS CHRISTIAN

You're fucking out of your minds. Nobody is going to spend that much money. Her fans are all teenagers. They don't have that kind of money. Maybe if you're selling to people my age who have money it might make sense. Like Fleetwood Mac. We should do a deal with someone that targets the older generation who has the cash.

 

ALEXANDRA MARTINIQUÉ
Thomas, where we come from it's the Millennial Generation that's spending money. They want the latest and greatest long before anyone else has it. They want something that's hard to get either because it's so expensive nobody else has it, or it's so hard to find that nobody else has it. If we give them the ability to buy a $50 private label handbag or a $500 Kate Spade handbag or a $5,000 Alexander McQueen handbag, either way these girls are going to be reaching into the handbag they already have to take out money to buy another one.

 

THOMAS CHRISTIAN

You're still fucking insane, you know that right? Nobody is ever going to believe you. These numbers are absurd.

 

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Do you want to be in this business with us or not? That's how it works. If you're going to be my business partner you have to believe in me. Do you think Victoria's Secret has 20,000 walking through store doors so excited to be there after purchasing tickets to enter the store 8 months earlier?

 

THOMAS CHRISTIAN

That's different, the brand has been around for decades. Everybody knows who it is. Nobody knows what Modern Material is yet.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

So imagine if customers walked through the doors at Victoria's Secret and all customers could purchase was a t-shirt, hoodie, water bottle, and keychains that had pictures of Gisele, Heidi, Alexandria, Behati and all the Angels but they weren't actually selling the lingerie they were wearing. Does that sound like a very good business to be in if you're making sexy music videos?" Mackenzie jumps into the conversation.
 

THOMAS CHRISTIAN

Well no, that's the reason I think you have a good idea, but it still needs to be tested to see if it works," Thomas comes up with an excuse.
 
ALEXANDRA MARTINIQUÉ
Tested? As in 20 Million fans online and a SOLD OUT World Tour might not actually buy enough merchandise from Willa's Wardrobe for us to even know if it's going to work? What is wrong with you? No retail store knows what people are going to buy but we put merchandise on store shelves all around the country in hopes that the right customer will walk into a store and buy what they see.

 

THOMAS CHRISTIAN

That is a lot of fucking money. Taylor Swift's tour hasn't even grossed that and she's the Holy Grail of the business.

 

ALEXANDRA MARTINIQUÉ

Well is Taylor selling her Louboutin shoes, Dior gown and red Tom Ford lip stick, or whatever high end designer brands she's wearing?

 

THOMAS CHRISTIAN

Look, I get it. It's a good idea. If I didn't believe in it I wouldn't be here. But I still don't understand why nobody else has thought to do this if it's such a good idea. It seems so obvious ever since you told me about this concept.
 

 

ALEXANDRA MARTINIQUÉ

We agree and that's why we are trying to push this concept through before someone steals it. It's been over a year since James started asking questions. Your people are the ones who created the 360 deal that nobody can get around. People on our side of the fence have probably seen the market opportunity but they aren't going to waste their time and money trying to make money for the artists. That's why they get paid to endorse products or get a licensing royalty.

 

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Thomas, this is getting ridiculous. We've been working on this business plan for 6 months. We could have made millions while Willa's new single is climbing the chart. Don't you understand speed to market? We should have jumped on the success the week it happened. All you're doing is pushing a song that you can't sell and a tour that has a glass ceiling. Willa can only handle playing 50 shows a year and they all sold out. Ticket sales are maxed out. Maybe the artist can jack up the price on a ticket to make more, but the consumer is probably only going to spend $200 on a concert ticket once or twice a year. So the other artists are getting screwed because concerts cost so much money now. Nobody needs to buy a fucking $35 t-shirt they will never wear.
 

 

ALEXANDRA MARTINIQUÉ

Ok, let me try to explain this to you in music revenue terms from the 80's and early 90's. Like when we were in college going to the record store. Your people produced Madonna's album. It probably sold for about $10. It took, say 1 year to record and produce. You filmed Lucky Star, Like a Virgin, Borderline and the Material Girl videos. The stylist dressed her up in bras, bracelets, rosary necklaces and lace gloves. All of us girls wanted to look like her. But you were just selling us a $10 cassette tape. We had to go find all that crap so we could dress ourselves up at home. We needed a big can of Aqua Net to tease our hair. We probably spend hundreds of dollars trying to buy things to look like Madonna and all you were selling was a $10 cassette tape," she says out of breath.

 

THOMAS CHRISTIAN

I get your point. The numbers still just seem absurd to me. I still think we aim low and if we sell out immediately that's a good thing.

 

ALEXANDRA MARTINIQUÉ
Thomas, we can't put a year into development for a World Tour and only purchase the minimum order. If we sell out in 10 minutes during the first stop we just left millions on the table because it will take at least 3 months to reproduce.
 

THOMAS CHRISTIAN

I still think it's too risky. What if we don't sell through the pre-order when we launch it. Then what? We don't reproduce?

 

ALEXANDRA MARTINIQUÉ

How could we not sell through the MOQ with an artist who has 20 Million fans online? Trust us, this is our job.

 

THOMAS CHRISTIAN

I just don't understand how you think you could possible sell more than Taylor Swift's entire tour generated last year. Willa West is still a new artist.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL
That's because you only seem to understand what it's like for ONE fan to spend TEN DOLLARS. Out of all the fans that buy a record, how many can go see a live show? A fraction right? The artist can only be in one place at one time. That's like Victoria's Secret only opening one store location per day for the people in that city...but wait, what if a woman walked into the store and they are only selling is a t-shirt with the model's photo on it. Is that what you men want a woman to be wearing in the bedroom? A crappy t-shirt?

 

THOMAS CHRISTIAN

Well that would be sexy too, but I get your point. I really do. What do you think sold Madonna's records? We still need to have a marketing plan. Why don't we pay influencers to wear Willa's collection? That's what everyone is doing these days.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Wait, what? Willa IS the influencer. She's the one with fans. We aren't going to pay a celebrity to endorse a celebrity brand. That makes no sense.
 

THOMAS CHRISTIAN

We can't go in and say that the entire marketing plan is just on Willa West to do the promotion.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Aren't major brands already going to A-list artists and paying them money to endorse their brands? They wouldn't be doing that unless they they expect to make tens of millions.

 

THOMAS CHRISTIAN

Yes, but they are getting paid up front. We're just going in saying we will give Willa West a commission on what sells. 

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Thomas. We are going to be selling everything from lip gloss to shoes to handbags to leather sofas to diamond rings. All the expensive shit you're precious pop stars like Ariana Grande are singing about buying with all that money their music makes. You're only used to selling a fucking $10 CD that took all year to record and now you can't even do that! This conversation is getting ridiculous!

 

THOMAS CHRISTIAN

This is exactly why James couldn't work with you. You're too difficult. You won't listen. I'm telling you the music business doesn't work like that. We've got one shot when we present this proposal to MMG. If they say no that's it. There is no other option. They are the top of the top. You've already burned a bridge with James and if people in the industry

see you have two failed partnerships they will never work with you.

Mackenzie could sense the fear in his voice. Almost a cowardly response not confidence or arrogance.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

James and I couldn't work together for personal reasons. He didn't want to create fashion brands for pop stars and your people wanted to turn his artist into a pop star. Not to mention the three of us have a long history since the early days with Maxwell Martin. James and I just had a lot of shit that got in the way of our dreams. He never would have treated me like this.

 

Mackenzie starts to look a little sad as if she's having regrets for partnering with Thomas instead of James.

 

THOMAS CHRISTIAN

I've had enough of this drama. We will pick this back up next week.

 

ALEXANDRA MARTINIQUÉ

We don't have an entire week to waste. Time is money. You can't just meet with us for one hour once a week. How is this relationship going to work once we sign deals and have to keep our team on strict timelines if you're just going to roll in here once a week? Jackie needs to get samples made in China by next week if we are going to have them here in time before Willa films City of Angeles + Demons.

 

THOMAS CHRISTIAN

I'm leaving.

Thomas says as he puts on his black Ray Bans gives them an unemotional hug and walks out of the Coffee Bean on Beverly and Robertson. Mackenzie and Alexandra  jump in Mackenzie's white Mercedes Benz SLK with the top down and start speeding down Robertson towards The 10. 

 

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

That was bullshit! I can't deal with this shit anymore. James never would have spoken to me like that. He always knew exactly what I was talking about and never doubted me. He didn't know the numbers like you've been providing, but he just said it wasn't really his lane. I would have much rather been selling t-shirts out of The 27 Club than dealing with this crap Thomas gives us. How are they even brothers? I shouldn't have fucked it up but I didn't know any of this crap about the business structure of merch deals back the.

 

ALEXANDRA MARTINIQUÉ

All I know is this shit wouldn't fly in our business. No wonder they just sell crappy t-shirts on tour. Nobody knows what the fuck they are doing. They are missing out on billions of dollars a year. The good news is you're friends with Jamie and Millennial Music Global doesn't own her yet unlike Maroon 5 and Katy Perry. If she signs that deal soon we've got 1 year to make sure we save her soul from the devil," Alexandra says partially joking.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

I'm beginning to believe there's more to that story. Maybe it isn't a joke that  you have to sell your soul to the devil to get a record deal. Something just isn't adding up. It's not just Thomas who thinks our numbers are crazy. Brooklyn thought I was out of my mind and my frustration is what drove James to leave. Either everyone in the music business is a moron or we are just too highly educated thanks to Les Wexner. I wouldn't know because I entered the culture  the minute I graduated.

 

Mackenzie and Alexandra pull up to The Seapunk and see a party going on at the pool. Their neighbors Jake Carter and Freddy Rodriguez are hitting on a couple of girls in bikinis as they park the car and walk in. Jake starts pouring the ladies a drink while they dish the dirt on their meeting with Thomas.