Well the flip side of this is Dr Dre and Beats.
I think the statement
Secondly, users resent (and are mistrustful of) the idea that they need to be commercially sold on web products -- including and especially if it's a consumer-facing product
applies to a segment of consumers but not to all of it. The iterating on the customer needs is nothing new about the internet. P&G have been doing this since the days before Tide...
The point though about understanding what you are selling is the important one. BEATS is selling an image and "cred". And Dre is using his own image and "cred" to sprinkle that "glitter dust" on all the users of BEATS.
The question then is what Tidal is selling with JayZ , Madonna et al. And they are selling a couple of things
Celebrity endorsements work. Look at the Apple Watch - endorsed by Jony and Tim Cook - the apple fanboys (and girls) are buying something that
its mainly being sold on image. I contend that part of why NEST sold out to Google was to get the cachet and imprimatur of "this is the future"
Celebrity sells - but only to certain demographics and only in categories aligned with that celebrity.
JayZ isn't going to help you sell a new satirical look at news - having been on Jon Stewart's show does.
Madonna isn't going to help you sell BBQs - having Mike Rowe endorse it might
Fair points about Beats, but as I mentioned, I think there's a relevant distinction btwn web/mobile products and offline products.
Consumers interact with web/mobile products differently. Most consumer-facing web products are free. So, the conventions and expectations from users have grown to be different, over time. Not only do people not want to pay for your product up-front (with all the apps and web products available in the marketplace) you've got to first prove the product worthy of a free download. So, the expectation around its utility is different.
Distribution is diff. Product support is different. Shelf-Life is diff. User Experience is diff. Integrations with other 3rd-party tech is diff. Etc. It's a different world.
Plenty of examples of offline products where celebs endorsements do well. Look no further than Peyton/Eli Manning and NFL DirecTV packages or [insert celebrity here] and Vizio TVs...
When we say celebrity, I mean entertainment celeb...not a famous VC, or a product designer. Jony Ive is cool but he's not a celeb. And, I get your point @Karl but it's hard to use the Apple example when they've got the world's biggest cult following.
I think Karl makes interesting points about celebrity brand equity being passed along when the celeb's brand is closely associated to an endemic product -- but there's little to no evidence of consistent quick and consistent product adoption.
They don't even own Gentology.com today.
Kim Kardashian and Shoe Dazzle -- $66MM in investment, investors don't break even.
Floyd Mayweather & Justin Beiber's Selfie App, Shots -- barely 1M downloads. But, together they have over 100 Million social followers.
We don't know all the details. A lot of reasons tech companies fail. & endorsements don't preclude you from building a top-notch product. But, I have yet to see any consistent evidence that suggests celebs drive brand lift or even early adoption, in web or mobile products.