For every Beats by Dre, the monolithic headphone company estimated to have made Dr Dre hip-hop’s first billionaire last year when he partnered with Apple, there’s probably 100 musicians whose forays into the world of business crash and burn. Bossing it in a recording booth often doesn’t translate to bossing it in the board room, we guess. Here’s 11 acts whose attempts to launch products sadly didn’t go to plan…
Flavor Flav’s fried chicken franchise: Public Enemy hype man Flav couldn’t generate enough hype to save his fried chicken shop, which folded just three months after opening in his Iowa hometown. Flav had hoped the flagship restaurant would be the first in a long line of stores across America. Turns out transitioning from hip-hop icon to restauranteur is Harder Than You Think.
Lily Allen’s fashion boutique: Lucy In Disguise was launched in 2010 after Allen decided to take a break from music. Setting up in Covent Garden with her sister Sarah, the shop provided a range of vintage clothes for hire. The store closed after 10 months, re-opened in Soho, then was sadly forced into liquidation in 2013 by its owners, Aurora Fashions. Can’t win ’em all, Lil.
Britney Spears’ restaurant: Another culinary mistake. Brit’s Manhattan eatery was named after her two favourite places’ postcodes – New York and Louisiana. It opened in June 2002 when she was 21, but it went down terribly with critics, struggled to keep hold of staff and made health code violations. There’s a ‘Toxic’ gag in here somewhere.
Lemmy’s Motörheadphönes: Lemmy Kilmister’s rock-ready headphones apparently bring out midrange sounds, as a riposte to Beats’ emphasis on bass. Lemmy has described the Beats experience as like “listening through a towel”. Unfortunately, the reviews for his own product have been lukewarm and Motörheadphönes have struggled to set the world alight.
50 Cent’s condoms: You might not have guessed it from ‘Candy Shop’ but Fiddy is actually a champion of safe sex. His line of Magic Stick condoms (we’ll let you guess what their tag line “BYOP” stands for) were designed to prolong sexual performance. “It just didn’t work out because I wanted things in it that wouldn’t work,” the rapper said after the product was shelved, rather unnervingly.
Jennifer Lopez’s restaurant and fashion line: Poor J-Lo – not only did her Madre’s restaurant spend a difficult six years in Pasadena clinging on for dear life against bad reviews before shutting in 2008, but her “name was stamped on things I didn’t believe in” in 2003 when she dipped her toes into the world of fashion with clothes line Sweetface. Never mind, Jen.
Kanye’s clothing line: He may have now conquered the world of fashion, having teamed up with Adidas and collaborated with a number of European fashion houses on well-received designs, but it wasn’t always so easy for Yeezy. His inaugural clothing line Pastelle was pulled in October 2009 after designs leaked online, before the thing had even launched. If at first you don’t succeed…
Jay Z soda: HOV’s drink, said to contain a natty “Almond Palmer-esque” taste, launched in 2014 for “sports-loving males”. As we’ve learnt from Pharrell, gendered beverages are a risky proposition and 40/40 has since failed to materialise in supermarkets across the world as promise, seeming to disappear without a trace. It’s presumably still stocked by his 40/40 club in New York, though.
Alexandra Burke Watches: You can tell that X Factor winner 2008, Alexandra Burke, was super excited to appear on Argos TV, to launch her Argos-exclusive watch collection in December 2011. Just 23 at the time, she informed viewers that “Christmas is a good time to have a watch ‘cause you can look at the watch and know it’s Christmas.” So young, so wise.
50 Cent’s headphones: Fiddy again! The rapper’s SMS Audio headphone range, launched in 2011, must have been struggling when he appeared, visibly uncomfortable, on QVC. The stunt paid off though – he reportedly made $177K in 9 minutes before it transpired he’d copied the design from a company called Sleek Audio, costing him more than £9m in a court settlement.