The mother reportedly made nearly $18 million selling the media rights to her wedding, a marriage that would last 72 days. The father is in the middle of a whirlwind publicity tour for an album that rhymes his name with Jesus. So it is not too cynical to wonder if Kim Kardashian and Kanye West will sell the first pictures of their baby girl, born Saturday, and if so, how much money those pictures could fetch?
Other celebrity power couples less famous or fame-hungry than "Kimye" have fetched 7-digit figures for the exclusive rights to their babies' photos, with even B-lister Nicole Richie reportedly getting $1 million for pictures of her daughter Harlow in 2008. The Kardashian clan, infamously "famous for being famous," has figured out how to monetize almost every aspect of their personal lives. In addition to their E! reality TV show, "Keeping up with the Kardashians" and its many spin-offs, Kim and her sisters appear on magazine covers regularly, often paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to flaunt their weight loss or their relationships with professional athletes.
Yet, Kardashian and West may break that trend when it comes to their bundle of joy, whose name has not yet been released but reportedly begins with a K. For one, West, the non-Kardashian in the relationship, is thought to be against all the exposure when it comes to his child.
"He furiously does not want these pictures sold to the world," says Jo Piazza, author of "Celebrity Inc.: How Famous People Make Money," and the executive news director for the magazines In Touch and Life & Style.
"He doesn't like the idea of pimping his child, even though he is quite good at pimping out himself."
Indeed, West may be one to interrupt people's acceptance speeches and accuse U.S. presidents of not caring about black people. But when it comes to the revelations about his child, he hasn't exactly participated in the Kardashian-industrial-complex. He announced her pregnancy at concert, rather than selling the news to a media outlet, which, according to New York Daily News, angered "mom-ager" Kris Jenner (Kim's mom), who thought she could rein in $500,000 for the exclusive. The Daily News report alleges Us Weekly was ticked too, stuck running a weight loss cover it had already paid Kim's sister Kourtney $200,000 for the week of West's surprise pregnancy announcement. Since then, West and Kardashian have reportedly said privately their child would not be on any Kardashian TV shows.
Not releasing the photos could benefit Kardashian as well.
"Kim knows she needs to garner a lot of good will," says Piazza. She says fans have become more aware of the big bucks celebs make by selling photos of their children. "Fans are really against it. They think there's something tacky about it," Piazza says. Counter-intuitively, the close, symbiotic relationship she and her family have with multiple media companies in Hollywood — and not just E! — could also deter Kardashian.
"They risk harming their relationships if they go with one and not another," says Piazza.
Instead, Kardashian and West could debut their photos of their daughter via social media, as Beyonce and Jay-Z did for their daughter on Tumblr, and Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum did of theirs on Instagram.
Using social media to release prized baby photos has become the norm, as more celebrities are using Twitter, Instagram and other personal platforms to connect directly with fans. But also, selling baby pictures to media outlets is no longer the cash cow it once was. Sure, once upon a time, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie could rope in $14 million for the rights to photos of their twins, and Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez could get as much as $6 million for pictures of theirs. But more recently, Jessica Simpson couldn't even get $750,000 for pictures of her first born.
"There's just not the market right now," says Piazza, and outlets can't afford to pay what they once could.
Once a decision to sell the photos or go another route has been made, Kardashian and West will also have to decide when.
"The longer they wait, the more the demand is going to be," says Piazza, whether the payoff will be from a media company's coffers or in fan goodwill.
But if they wait too long, they risk losing control of the big reveal all together. After all, it wasn't E! who got to break the news of the birth in the first place, as some might have expected, but a intrepid reporter at the Daily Mail.
"They can't hide this baby for long," says Piazza.