I would be very surprised if you hadn’t noticed that the artist formally known as Wacko Jacko has a new album out. It’s being advertised all over the place and I even had the misfortune of bumping into a lookalikie earlier this morning outside of HMV. I’m still not sure whether he was there to promote the new album (or what he does for the rest of the year?) or whether he was just a super fan who was first in line to pick up the CD.
Either way I’m fascinated by the whole marketing approach to this and wonder if its a sign of things to come when it comes to releasing new material, promotional tours or products from deceased artists. Now Jacko was in the process of creating a new tour when he left us mere mortals, but even then the language being used in the album’s promotion is a bit spooky. If this is a sign of the times, it will be interesting to hear what his subsequent posthumous albums will be like and how they will be influenced by new sounds and trends. Where this leads I suppose will be that our favourite departed artists become franchise models like some of the fictional characters/properties (Harry Potter, James Bond, Superman etc.) that go from strength to strength, year after year for all time… the proverbial golden goose.
With Michael out of the way of spending copious amounts of money on ridiculous follies, a management team can start to control his outputs with meticulous and clinical precision. The problem with artists, as everybody knows, is what make them so brilliant… their uncontrollable temperaments and artistic tendencies are the antithesis of the well-oiled efficiency of the corporate machine.
For me this is all a little unsettling, but I guess if anybody was to be at the forefront of music marketing and branding it should be the King of Pop. I think this really signals something new in terms of entertainment brands and expect that we will see much more of it as the good continue to die young.
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