Attack of the bums
I may have mentioned this once or twice before, but my academic background, to the extent that you can even say I have an academic background, is in marketing. The classes I should have been in when I was stroking it to the legendary Soleil Moon Frye episode of Wonder Years (which seemed to come on ABC Family every few weeks), or looking for change to cop a $.99 tall boy of MGD from the gas station were marketing classes, i.e. classes about how to sell people shit they probably wouldn't want otherwise.
So, I'm always interested to see how artists are being promoted. I wonder, if I had an artist no one ever heard of and a relatively limited budget, could I get them on the cover of that Freshman 10 issue of XXL? (Or do you have to be down with Interscope for that to happen?) Or, if I had an established artist, like Eminem, and a seemingly infinite amount of money, could I help him sell over a million albums in a week, like Lil' Wayne did, or was 600,000 copies sold the absolute best he could do? I've done a number of posts here over the years discussing things that seem retarded to me, and things I would have done differently.
I was checking some blogs last night, and I saw a flyer for this shit called Attack of the Blogs 2. I remember getting an email about it, presumably with a copy of the flyer to post on my own site, but I disregard pretty much any and all marketing communications from artist and labels, unless it's from a publicist who's an attractive woman. I know, that's fucking retarded. What can I say? I'm a weak, weak man. And for all I know, that could be why most publicists are women anyway. If we're honest about it, at least it might cause these artists to step their game up. I know I'd go so far as to post a song by one of the guys from the cover of this month's issue of XXL (yikes!), if Natalie Portman asked me to.
A man has needs...
The way this Attack of the Blogs shit works is that some bum rapper no one ever heard of releases freestyles to 20 different blogs. The first 20 people to collect them all, Pokemon-style, and take a screen cap of them all in one folder win a prize. Or something like that. I didn't go over the flyer with a fine tooth comb, and now I can't find it. You know how content tends to shift from the front page of some of these hip-hop blogs by the hour. And I'm not about to sift through heaps of new Donny Goines records or whatever looking for it. But I do seem to recall there being some pretty substantial prizes. This whole thing must cost a small fortune to put on. Granted, I think a lot of it was being put up by sponsors, on the strength.
Which raises a number of issues. First of all, what do these blogs get for participating in some shit like this? I'm assuming they don't get paid, because you know how adamant some of these hip-hop bloggers are about ethics. God forbid eskay should have to drive to St. Louis, stand on a stack of phone books and punch me in the face. Maybe they figured that, by providing whoever this guy is with free publicity, they could curry favor with the labels and advertisers involved, which might pay off down the road. That doesn't constitute accepting payola, right? If I was important enough to be approached for some shit like this (like, if the guy was releasing 29 freestyles), I would have demanded to be paid. Then the shit would have been clearly labeled on my site as a paid advertisement. But you guys know I'm a hater like that.
Then the larger issue is, what good is this gonna do the artist? I think we're arriving at a point now where we have a pretty good idea of what blog buzz is good for, and the answer is not a whole lot. It's at the point now where mixtapes got back in like '05 and '06. Remember when Fiddy Cent blew up, and people thought mixtapes could create the next Fiddy? More like the next Papoose. Speaking of which, sure, blog buzz can take some bum no one ever heard of and make him more less a household name amongst Internets hip-hop heads. Which is a pretty significant group of people at this point, mind you. But it's not gonna get anyone to actually buy anything. Asher Roth was as big on blogs this year as anyone, and his shit flopped. And even if it hadn't flopped, it wouldn't have been because of blogs; it would have been because people actually liked his shit.