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Friday, 7 October 2011

Lana Del Rey.

No such thing as bad publicity.

Lana Del Rey is currently the third most blogged about artist in the world, so Lauren Laverne told me on 6 Music earlier.

What a success story. An unestablished artist going global with only one song and the power of the internet to get her there, right?

Over the last month she, and her still yet to be released debut single Video Games have exploded onto the music scene, garnering almost 1.7 million YouTube views and a seldom seen reaction from the music public.

Her record label must be salivating at the attention she has received, despite the fact her actual musical output, granted only a couple of songs, has been almost overshadowed by her authenticity and appearance. In an age where we must know everything about everyone, and a detailed Wikipedia entry or comprehensive website is expected of every artist, no matter their size, are we meant to think this hasn’t all been a carefully orchestrating publicity stunt?

If you’re unaware, Lana Del Rey is the alter ego of Lizzie Grant, who was a struggling pop singer until what she describes as a ‘series of managers and lawyers’ came up with Lana, a bona fide, vintage-clad bombshell with just a hint of cosmetic surgery about her.

It’s nothing new, every artist has a carefully considered image and more than we imagine are probably created by someone other than the artist. So why the fuss over this particular girl?

Is it because Video Games is actually a really good song? A song deserving of attention, no matter how the attention is achieved. A song people want to love and shout about in their blogs but now feel they can’t because of some misplaced ideology about being set up or marketed to.

While anyone who thinks that image has nothing to do with music is na├»ve, in reality her image is no more important to the quality of the song than Jonathan Pierce’s dodgy haircut is to The Drums.

So is it because she has been aimed specifically at the people who are writing the blogs that have been so quick to savage her? People who may believe they are only interested in the music and not the marketing. Someone like myself even. I’ll admit to feeling a slight unease at the cosmetic surgery aspect, if it proves true, but other than that, I congratulate whoever created this character, they know what we want and have done their job well.

I still like the song, and in an age where music is in my headphones more than in front of my eyes, I honestly don’t find it that important what she looks like. A colleague went as far to say that I’d ruined the song for him when I told him the furor around her, but he still turns up the volume when it comes on.

So now they’ve got my attention and the attention of millions of others, and most people won’t care at all about the back story of an artist for a song they really like, their exercise has obviously worked. A great song has great awareness. Job done. A few bloggers are pissed off, but who cares about them?

Their excessive posting and sniping has been counterproductive in that she is now the third most blogged about artist in the world. That’s a great statistic, a statistic that doesn’t in any way indicate the general consensus of the blogs that have mentioned her. Likewise, she will probably have a number one single soon, maybe because of the attention their negativity has given her, but a number one none the less.

And for a group who would probably argue that they only care about the music, they’ve ignored a great song because of its back story.

She is a lesson in the upside of marketing and the downside of blogging. By blogging, they’ve only drawn attention to something that they wanted to receive none. Maybe if you’ve got nothing nice to blog, don’t blog anything at all.

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