The Influence of Publicity

A lot of people that I encounter on a daily basis do not have a basic understanding of how the music industry functions. They think most artists achieve their fame via their own individual artistry, and maybe with the help of a record label. In actuality, any artist that has hit the music circuit on even a national level, has reached that level due to one main thing: publicity. People are interested in what other people are interested in. The more someone is in the media, the more interesting a person becomes to the general public. Artists who are continually in the public spotlight have successful music campaigns 9/10 times. This is not by accident. As an example, take a look at Miley Cyrus’ recent antics. On August 25th, at the MTV VMAs, Miley “twerked” on singer Robin Thicke. The former Disney childstar had officially left her adolescent image. Her VMA actions blew up the Internet as sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube became overran with videos, images, and comments regarding Miley’s actions. A short two weeks later, on September 5, 2013, Miley releases her music video for “Wrecking Ball”. The video features a shocking image of Miley swinging nude on a wrecking ball in a small construction site. These two stunts did exactly what they were meant to do. They launched Miley into the stratosphere of Internet hype. They were both so unexpected that the general public didn’t know how to react. However, there was one reaction that was expected, record sales.

30 days after the “Wrecking Ball” video, Miley’s new album “Bangerz” was released. This resulted in Miley having the highest net sales in one week for a woman in 2013, the album went #1 on Billboard and sold over 500k copies. Selling 500k copies of an album in today’s digital age is only known to the artists who stay in the media spotlight.

Vijat Mohindra

Vijat Mohindra

What is the point of all this? That great publicity is what sells records. Of course the artist needs to get to the point where they can afford a great publicity team, but once the artist has reached this point, the publicity team does the rest. The timing of Miley’s two stunts in August and September were the farthest thing from an accident. It was timed to perfection where the Internet would see “Miley” everyday for a month straight. The music industry is sculpted by PR teams as they are the ones who control the direction of an artist’s image. Miley is not the only person to have their image and media presence lead to consistent media coverage. Deadmau5’s image (a mouse head), and his internet rants are no mistake. They give him a presence in the media. His name and brand are extremely recognizable. What magazine had him on their cover last year? Rolling Stone. Even my parents know who Deadmau5 and Miley Cyrus are. Successful music artists reach their fame via publicity teams, because these teams know how to keep an artist/band relevant in the eyes of the general public. People want music that is current, and the more current and relevant an artist/band seems, the more their records will sell.

Another example as how publicity aided the careers of Britney Spears & Madonna.

PR is essential in the Music Industry

– CJ Huntzinger

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One thought on “The Influence of Publicity

  1. Why is it that people all too often forget to consider the role of PR in stunts like these? As you mentioned, Miley’s behavior at the VMAs and her semi-nudity in the Wrecking Ball video were clearly calculated PR moves. And I’d say a PR win — if you’re measuring it by record sales.

    We’ve gotten to the point where any publicity is better than no publicity, and BAD publicity seems to capture and hold our attention. Almost half a year later and we’re still talking about it…

    Also, you mention the need to establish yourself as an artist before you can afford this expert PR advice, but I would argue that some artists get their foot in the door BECAUSE of their image. Would you agree that Lady Gaga’s rise to fame had a lot more to do with her over-the-top image and how they chose to market her?

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