What goes along with Armand de Brignac is Jay-Z. The rapper put the flashy bottle on the map when he featured it in his 2006 music video for "Show Me What You Got." The video is typical of mainstream hip-hop, with one possible exception: toward the end, a waiter presents Jay-Z with a bottle of Cristal champagne, and Jay-Z declines with a sweep of his hand. In its place, he accepts a gold bottle of then-unknown Armand de Brignac. Coming from someone who'd been rapping Cristal's praises for years--and once bragged that he was "popping that Cristal when all y'all thought it was beer"--this marked a major departure.Jay-Z's rolling in it:
The math looks extremely favorable for Jay-Z. The production cost per bottle of Armand de Brignac is about $13; the wholesale price is $225. The maximum output is 60,000 bottles per year. If Jay-Z splits the $212-per-bottle profit evenly with Cattier and Sovereign, a back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests his annual take would be a little over $4 million. One of my sources confirmed that number, and added that Jay-Z may have received equity in Sovereign Brands worth about $50 million. All for dropping a few lyrical references and featuring Armand de Brignac in a couple of videos.Great article, just superb reporting, but man, it's disappointing. I understand that rap and hip hop turned commercial a long time ago (no need for examples), but it still hurts to see how far hip hop has fallen.
UPDATE (March 28, 2011): The link has been dead since a couple of hours after I posted this. According to Politico on the 23rd, the Atlantic promised that they only had to make a few editorial changes and the page would be back up within 24 hours. On the 25th, the Atlantic told Fishbowl that the article hadn't gone through "routine editorial process," and it wouldn't be put back online. Very strange and disappointing. After much searching, I found the full article here.