Springing leaks – how musicians are standing up to the marketeers

 

Share
Related Topics

It’s been called a revolution in music PR: a brave new world that involves sitting around doing naff all. When David Bowie released his comeback single last January, with no great strategy beyond “Look! I wrote a song!”, his “anti-marketing” approach seemed to be a one-off.

The whole world applauded his cleverness and the record industry’s marketeers resumed their usual work. But by the time the rapper Angel Haze did the same a few weeks ago with her debut album, the landscape had already shifted. In mid-December Haze leaked Dirty Gold online, three months before it was due for official release. It had been ready for ages, she said, and “since [Island records] don’t want to put it out this year, I will”. This prompted Island to rush-release the album, officially, last week. And, last summer, MIA similarly forced her paymasters’ hand when she threatened to leak her long-delayed fourth album; a November release was confirmed the same day.

Meanwhile, further up the food chain, Beyoncé released her new, self-titled album last month with precious little preamble having denounced the hard sell of today’s music business and proclaimed herself “bored” with the process that “gets between the music, the artist and fans”.

From new artists defying record company politics to super-rich pop stars dropping bombshells, it’s clear that the rules are being redrawn when it comes to when and how music is released, with the musicians taking matters into their own hands.

So, is this the end of the long-lead marketing campaign? We can but pray.

The pre-publicity surrounding a new release has long been a deadening process, involving strategies as complex and costly as a political election campaign. First come the online teaser vids and album trailers, followed by drip-fed news stories about track listings, guest collaborations and so on. Next up are the inevitable press rounds in which the media-trained artist will declare this latest work their boldest and finest yet. Finally the album itself arrives with all the fizz of a damp firework.

Marketing still has a role to play – most obviously when promoting new talent, rather than merely stripping big names of any remaining mystery. But we live in a world where musicians are able to commune directly with fans without the need to jump through PR hoops. The power is shifting at last. It’s time to let the music do the talking.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Kylie has helped to boost viewing figures for the talent show  

When an Aussie calls you a ‘bastard’, you know you’ve arrived

Howard Jacobson
The number of schools converting to academies in the primary sector has now overtaken those in the secondary sector – 2,299 to 1,884 (Getty)  

In its headlong rush to make a profit, our education system is in danger of ignoring its main purpose

Janet Street-Porter
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee