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

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

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Election catch-up: Blairites for and against a Miliband victory

John Rentoul
Nicola Sturgeon could have considerable influence over David Cameron in a hung parliament  

General Election 2015: What if Cameron were to end up in debt to the SNP?

Steve Richards
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before