According to Marshall Manson, a senior account supervisor with the public relations firm, Edelman, the firm that Wal-Mart has hired to handle their public relations needs, Taylor Hicks will perform this morning along with Beyonce' at the annual shareholders meeting today.
I imagine one reason for their performances is to highlight Wal-Mart's increasing share into today's current music and entertainment industry. Wal-Mart competes with the likes of Amazon.com and Barnes & Nobles, naming two major companies vying for the public's entertainment dollars. Wal-mart's advantage over the competition is its the ability to offer the lowest prices as well as having an abundance of local stores buyers can simply drive to, rather than wait for orders (via Amazon.com), although products can certainly be purchased on-line if that is your preference via Wal-Mart.com. Wal-Mart prices on music and videos, price-wise usually beat out the competitors' offerings, making it a more attractive buying market for many.
Another reason for the performances; casting a positive light on the mega-conglomerate. Wal-Mart has come under attack for possible issues in bad employee practices, something the late founder, Sam Walton would have abhorred. Wal-Mart is working to display to the public the greater good the stores do to enable lower income shoppers a venue to capture the most for their money and eliminate the previous bad press. Having an established and well-knowned musical artist like Beyonce' and the tremendously popular winner of American Idol, Taylor Hicks perform states to the shareholders and the public, the importance Wal-Mart has in the retail industry.
The season 5 CD, American Idol Season 5 Encores which was released on May 23, debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200, selling over 155,000 copies. This is 70,000 more than last year’s CD sold in the same time period, and an astounding 100,000 more than season three managed to move its first week. The CD also charted on the Digital Album Chart (#4), the Internet Album Sales chart (#6). This CD is notably important because of the impact sales have overall for the retailers offering this product, Wal-mart being one.
Of course, drawing in the powerfull force that the Soul Patrol has become can't hurt either.
(Thank you Mr. Manson for this information and the links in your e.mail. It's good to hear from a fellow Taylor fan! Mr. Manson wrote, "I’m a fan of Idol and Taylor Hicks, so I thought you might like this. *disclosure: I'm a pr person, I work for Edelman -- and represent Wal-Mart. That aside, I rarely get to work on stuff this fun.")
Tune in this afternoon, 2:00 p.m. EST, 3:00 CST (my time zone) to watch the performances. Click the title link.