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Opinion

Hip-hop banking: Atomised

Rumours that hip hop musician will.i.am might be about to announce a tie-up with UK start-up Atom Bank raises the intriguing possibility that the man behind classics like Elephunk might be about to make board meetings even cooler than they presumably already are at the mobile-only bank.

WEF will.i.am-600
Hip hop musician will.i.am at the World Economic Forum last year

As incongruous as the plan might sound, the former Black Eyed Peas singer and later solo artist is no stranger to the world of business. He was appointed in 2011 as director of creative innovation at Intel. And 3D Systems, a three-dimension printer company, brought him in as chief creative officer in 2014.

If profile on social media is what Atom is after, they’ll certainly get that. His Twitter handle @iamwill boasts 13.6 million followers, 855 times as many as Atom Bank’s.

Inspired

If all goes well, it’s possible that other banks may be inspired to borrow his talents – or perhaps just his music. If Deutsche Bank were in the market for new telephone hold music, it might look at his debut solo album, ‘Lost Change’. And there must be plenty of firms that might want to swap the voicemail greeting on their regulatory hotline for Black Eyed Peas hit ‘Shut Up’.

With will.i.am on board, Atom may consider itself well-placed to target the infinitely large extra-terrestrial market. In 2012, he streamed a song from the surface of Mars, with the help of Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Curiosity Rover that it had delivered to the Red Planet — although not specifically for that purpose. 

The song was ‘Reaching for the stars’. Broader applications of the feat might be limited, however. In spaceí, no one can hear you bank.

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