Justin Timberlake Cross Media Case Study
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  • 1. Justin Timberlake Cross media case study
  • 2. Justin Timberlake – The Beginning Justin Timberlake began his music career in the boy band ‘N Sync, formed in 1995, launched in Germany by BMG Ariola Muinch, and financed by Lou Pearlman. Timberlake was the youngest member of the group. The group had 5 albums in total, *NSYNC (1997), Home for Christmas (1998), The Winter Album(1998), No Strings Attached (2000), and Celebrity (2001). The group were nominated for 8 Grammy Awards. Many of the songs from the group’s albums made it to the top five in the charts and some of the songs made it to number one, including It’s Gonna Be Me. After the tour of their album Celebrity, the group decided to take a break from the music industry and planned to continue in September of that year, however, Timberlake wanted to focus on his solo career so it was postponed. They released a Greatest Hits album, but they never made more music and never got back together.
  • 3. Justin Timberlake – Solo career After the split of ‘N Sync, Justin Timberlake pursued his solo career with first album Justified (2002) and then FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006). His songs went to number one, his albums sold over seven million copies worldwide and he was known as a successful solo artist. He was known as one of the most commercially successful artists around at the time. From 2007 Timberlake decided to focus on his acting career and took a break from his singing career. However, in 2013 Justin Timberlake released his brand new album The 20/20 Experience and The 20/20 Experience: 2 of 2. It became one of the best selling albums of the year so far. Over his musical career, Timberlake has been awarded six Grammy Awards and four Emmy Awards.
  • 4. • Surprisingly, when you first go onto Justin Timberlake’s official website, we aren’t bombarded with pictures of himself, instead welcomed with a letter from Timberlake giving exciting news about his album and referencing upcoming music. The colour scheme is dark background with white writing, bringing your attention to the content rather than a distraction of promotional images. There is a link attached to the letter, giving fans an insight to the recording, letting them know what is happening all the time. The homepage frequently changes as he releases new videos, for example, he would usually have the most recent music video to greet website viewers. Website
  • 5. Link to trailer of newest film, self promotion. Showing audience that he is still making films, not just limited to making music. Promotional picture of himself, next to a car he is wearing a suit the car looks expensive, shows that he is more mature and fashionable. Link to the VMA voting poll, encouraging fans to vote for him and he’s trying to make sure he wins. Shows that he wants to be recognised and to make his work be acknowledged. Announcing new tour and promoting it in order to get the tickets sold to his fans, he is promoting himself. Promoting the most recently updated version of his album. Has an option to listen to music whilst on the website, which gives fans an opportunity to listen to a fragment of his album. Which may end up in them purchasing the whole album. Newsletter option, wants to keep the fans updated constantly. Different links available for fans to have access to and to keep them updated and have opportunities to buy merchandise. Self-promotional pictures from award ceremony.
  • 6. Justin Timberlake is very self promotional, each of his links from his website homepage includes an image of himself, either promoting his album/tour/film or what he’s currently up to. It’s made obvious from his use of social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, he likes to keep his fans updated and constantly entertained. He definitely aims most of this to his current fans and there is only ever a small link in the corner, encouraging new fans to join.
  • 7. Album covers Justin Timberlake is always the main focus of his album covers, however, the more recent they get, the less you can actually see his face. Justified shows his full face and then gradually it builds to the most recent, 20/20 Experience, where he has eye test(?) covers over his eyes/face. Which relates to the title of 20/20. There is a theme of the colour white, the text for his name on Justified, the background for FutureSex/LoveSounds and then again for the first edition of The 20/20 Experience. For the extended edition of The 20/20 Experience, the colour was changed to gold, signifying a more quality album and maybe it suggests that the album did well as the colour gold is usually associated with wealth.
  • 8. Justin Timberlake’s design for the tracklisting on the back of his albums follow pretty much the same design as the album artwork. For example, the FutureSex, LoveSounds tracklisting, the background is plain and there is only the return of the discoball from the front cover on the design. Keeping it plain and simple. This shows that there was an intended pattern on the albums and that he wanted them to look as good on the back as they do at the front.
  • 9. Album Promotion Justin Timberlake’s newest album promotion wasn’t as overly flashy and overdone. His reference to single Suit & Tie in the promotional images were obvious and he reused the plain background for his new album promotion, as we can see in these two examples with white background. His poses and his suits make him the centre of attention and shows that he is the main selling point.
  • 10. Music Video Analysis – Suit & Tie Released February 14th 2013. Directed by David Fincher
  • 11. The opening shots show Timberlake actually making his music and showing that he lives quite a glamorous lifestyle. The music video is completely black and white, bringing the focus completely onto the content of the video and the performance. The fact that it was a first video released for a few years, it is very well thought into and is good quality. The lyrics and visuals begin to relate to each other as the music video progresses…
  • 12. All of these shots show that there is definite reference to the song title ‘Suit & Tie’ as he is frequently seen wearing them, making him the centre of attention and the main focus of the whole video even though he is surrounded by other people. He looks sophisticated and the setting is very glamorous and expensive. The fact that it’s black and white, and sings “all pressed up in black and white” shows a relationship between the lyrics and the visuals. The use of lighting also emphasises that he is the one to be focused on and he is the most important thing.
  • 13. In these very frequent shots, we see Justin Timberlake surrounded by other men also in suits and ties… However, they are seen to be performing more like a pop music video as they are all doing the same dance routine and they are all in time and are pristine. However they look more suave and classy in suits whilst doing this rather than the usual cheesy pop video style. The in sync dance routine also applies to the women seen later on in the video as they dance/pose at the same time in sync with the music and each other. Showing that although it looks classy, it is still a pop music video.
  • 14. These shots show examples of references and they are referencing the making of the actual song in the music video as the orchestra is seen in a recording studio and so is Timberlake. Making it obvious that the video is more of a performance video than a narrative. Also, there is a relationship between lyrics and visuals during the video (top right image) as he sings “show you a few things” he counts using his fingers ‘a few’.
  • 15. The whole video is actually set up to look as if it was quite old and vintage as it is all in black and white, there is a use of a big orchestra which includes jazz trumpets and also by the clothes worn by both performers and the audience in the video. The actual sound of the trumpets in the song contributes to this because the instrumental of the song does sound like it could be quite an old fashioned song (until the main beat kicks in). Throughout the whole video, there are so many close ups of Justin Timberlake, which shows that he brings in the audience and also it doesn’t completely follow the pop music genre characteristics besides from the dance routines.
  • 16. In Conclusion… Justin Timberlake’s image of being a pop artist is consistent throughout his music video, website and album covers due to his style, his effort to keep fans entertained and his on-going theme of not being too over the top and in your face. His colour palette is quite plain and he promotes himself and doesn’t change himself too much, as we have seen that through his album covers. He is extremely mainstream and this could have something to do with his long career in the music business and his success in both the film and music industry.