Billboard / page three
December 10, 1983
The Legend of Barbra Streisand (continued)
CBS AND STREISAND: 'THE EPITOME OF WHAT WE STAND FOR'
By ED HARRISON
"Our association with Barbra Streisand is the epitome of what Columbia Records stands for. It gives us class."
Walter Yetnikoff, President, CBS Records Group.
WHEN GODDARD LIEBERSON SIGNED A YOUNG SINGER named Barbra Streisand to Columbia Records in 1962, it was the start of a mutually beneficial relationship that would continue to blossom, grow and prosper.
From her 1963 debut Columbia album, "Barbra Streisand," through "Yentl," Streisand has achieved the kind of rare popularity that few artists would ever come to know. Not only has she carved a special niche for herself among fans of all ages, but she continues to gain and hold new fans with each release.
While sheer talent has been the single most driving force behind her brilliant career, Streisand has also benefited from her long standing relationship with her record company. Together, they have produced some 32 albums, 24 of which have reportedly gone gold and six of them platinum.
"Aside from the financial rewards, she adds class and distinction," says Walter Yetnikoff, President of CBS Records, "She's in a class by herself. Her demographic boundaries are endless. They grow by leaps and bounds. 'Guilty' illustrates that. The type of talent she has can stretch from ballads to rock. And now with 'Yentl,' we see her in a totally different vein along with the personal risks she took.
"With 'Yentl' she gives us a whole new dimension. She's actress, producer, director, writer, performer, singer, comedienne and chief cook and bottle washer," continues Yetnikoff. "The music is a whole shift and it's used in an entirely different way.
"'Yentl' was a project her heart dictated to her that she do. That's the meaning of a true artist as opposed to a big record seller. Streisand is an artist in the elevated sense of the term. She put herself on the line because her heart made her do it," Yetnikoff says.
"Her durability and appeal as a record seller is remarkable," notes Al Teller, Columbia Records Senior Vice President and general manager, "Streisand is not only a superstar but one of the greatest talents of our time. There's not much to dispute when I say that she is the finest female voice pop music has heard.
"From a company view, we are enormously proud not only to have a superstar of the first magnitude, but a legend and a one of a kind talent. She's a tremendous calling card on the part of the label and company," says Teller.
"From an internal point of view," continues Teller, "it's terrific for the troops of the company to walk in and present a new Streisand album. It's an intangible benefit. Every employee of CBS Records and CBS Distribution is proud of the relationship and durability of that relationship."
Teller believes that "Guilty" was a major milestone in Streisand's career because of its worldwide success. "You can look at every Streisand LP as a milestone. It's really hard to single one out."
To Yetnikoff, a major turning point in Streisand's career was her involvement in soundtrack albums "even though not all were on our label." Yetnikoff cites "People" as a "classic for all time," along with "Funny Girl ... .. The Way We Were" and "A Star Is Born" as other career breakthroughs.
"If I had to sit down and list the criteria of a true superstar," says Teller, "a term often abused, one of the absolute essential requirements to be considered a first rate superstar is the ability to reach a broad demographic, from children to mature adults."
Says Bob Sherwood, Vice President of Marketing, Columbia Records: "It's hard-pressed to find someone who means more to the business. Whenever she gives us music the marketing campaign is real simple. You go anywhere with it. She appeals to the broadest demographic audience.
"If we just do our job by getting the single on radio and inform the public that it is out, then they will flock to the stores to get it."
Sherwood puts her in a revered category with such entertainers as Al Jolson and the Beatles, who have had the kind of musical influence that transcends all barriers.
“Her insecurity stems from the fact that she delivers so much when she performs. The only times I've seen her get uptight is when somebody else's part isn't working. She'll get impatient very quickly, if, for instance, she can't hear her self properly in the headset. But that's because she's operating on a much higher performance level, and energy level and emotional level."
PETER MATZ, Arranger/Conductor
Sherwood says that Streisand has "that extra-recognizability factor" that has come about as a result of hit recordings and hit movies-across-the-board, multi-media appeal. "The impact of Streisand is difficult to evaluate in terms of everyone else."
Not one to rest comfortably on past successes, Streisand follows her creative instincts wherever they may lead. In this case, it's "Yentl." With the release of "Yentl," CBS Records, in conjunction with MGM/UA, the motion picture's distributor, has embarked on perhaps its most all encompassing marketing campaign designed to exploit all retail, radio and video possibilities to the maximum. One thing is for certain: "Yentl" will be the recipient of the same kind of hard work and enthusiasm from a marketing standpoint that Streisand poured into the creative end.
According to Peter Fletcher, West Coast Marketing Director, CBS Records, the record company and movie company will work side by side in maximizing publicity efforts. "Our philosophy is that since the movie company spends a tremendous amount on media, the record company is there to exploit the media buys and publicity push from the movie company. We can't compete with $5-$10 million media buys."
Fletcher says that from the record company vantage point, the bulk of the marketing and promotion will be done at the retail level with point of purchase materials, at the radio level with a host of ticket and soundtrack giveaways and at the video level with the first ever video footage of Streisand in performance.
The first single from "Yentl," "The Way He Makes Me Feel," shipped in four-color single sleeves. Radio stations received special "collector" deejay copies. "The number one priority is the single," says Fletcher. He adds that market radio buys are being made on a weekly basis where the single is gaining strength and in conjunction with MGM. CBS has also produced a promotional four-color picture disk from "Yentl."
Additionally, an interview Streisand did with the BBC on the making of "Yentl," is scheduled to become the focus of a 30-minute syndicated television program that will be broadcast in 120 markets by MGM's television arm. From that interview, MGM and CBS are putting together electronic press kits that will include a Streisand interview along with interviews with Alan and Marilyn Bergman, who wrote the soundtrack's lyrics and Michel Legrand, who composed the music.
Two songs from the film, "The Way He Makes Me Feel" and "No Matter What Happens," have been recut for release as singles and are included as a bonus on the soundtrack. "We discussed with Streisand what had to be done and decided to release slightly different versions of two songs to be released as singles and incorporate them in the soundtrack as a bonus," says Teller. "They were structured more tightly from a radio point of view."
Streisand's first ever video will be in the form of a scene from "Yentl" and will be heavily exploited on broadcast and cable television. Streisand will be seen performing "The Way He Makes Me Feel."
"The radio and video promotion are the keystone of the campaign," notes Fletcher.
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