Borat And The Music Business

Nobody knows about it.

Yup, that’s what the bigwigs concluded when their market research came in.  The overhyped to the max "Borat" was seemingly unknown in the heartland of our country.

It doesn’t square.  God, if I read one more Borat article, I’m gonna PUKE!

Yes, I thought it was funny when Sascha Baron Cohen showed up in a green "thong" in Cannes.  Since then, the marketing roar has been deafening.  It’s been a veritable juggernaut.  Endless newspaper and magazine pieces.  The Toronto Film Festival buzz.  It ultimately TURNED ME OFF!  I wanted the movie to suck just so Fox would be out money.

The nineties are over.  The mantra of the nineties was all exposure is good exposure.  With MTV declining in the number of videos shown, and it being a limited number/few genres to begin with, labels started tying in with every corporation known to man.  Other TV shows.  "The Today Show" was suddenly seen as an avenue to break records.  Doing endorsements was a way not only to generate revenue but to break acts.  Both of these damaged what little credibility performers had, but what is truly fascinating is how it just doesn’t work anymore.  Not enough people are paying attention.

In an era when NBC gives up at 8 o’clock, how many eyeballs do you think are watching?

In OTHER WORDS, saturation marketing no longer works.

That was the plan.  Cast a big net, open the lasso to capture the entire country.  We’re one big homogenous nation.  We’re all in it together.


We’re so niche, it’s hysterical.  Don’t spend all those marketing dollars, for you’re burning out your core audience.  And your only hope is that this core audience will revere you, adopt you and spread the word to others.  Because you can’t REACH the others!!

TV?  There are three hundred channels.

Radio?  Ever-declining listenership.  And, as for satellite radio and the Web…there are a ZILLION options.  There’s no one station everybody’s tuning in to.  Actually, the OPPOSITE is occurring.  People are only listening to that which appeals directly to them, FUCK THE REST!

We’ve come a long way from the sixties, when you endured "Hello Dolly" and other mainstream tracks on Top Forty because you had NO OTHER CHOICE!  You’ve got TONS OF CHOICE today.  The choice not to pay attention to the usual suspects lying to you that something is great when you know it’s not.  And if it IS good, you know that word will filter down to you.

The big opening weekend?  How many of those flicks even play a month?  They leave theatres soon not because everybody’s seen them, but because everybody knows they SUCK!  Yes, it’s topsy-turvy.  Marketing has eclipsed quality.  But those days are through.

Doubt me?  Then explain the failure of Jessica Simpson’s CD.  She’s ALL OVER THE MEDIA!  But the public shrugs, if they’re paying attention at all, they know her music is lightweight pap.

"Borat" is going to be a giant hit.  Because starting TODAY, with its opening, people are going to be texting, e-mailing, IM’ing and even PHONING everybody they know to tell them to see it.  It’ll take a while for the money to come in, because it’s a marathon again, not a sprint.

I’m paying attention because the reviews are so damn good.  Kind of like "Jagged Little Pill".  Or even better, "Nevermind".  When EVERYBODY agrees, insiders lay down their money and take a chance.  If it turns out to be good, you don’t stop talking about it.  YOU sell it.  The marketing is FREE!

If you want success today, create something good.  Seed the early adopters.  And then cease, or at least slow down, your marketing.  Because the more you beat people over the head, the less attention they’re going to pay.  THEY want to feel in control, THEY don’t want to feel tools of the system.  THEY want to embrace the project, just like you wanted to embrace and tell everybody about "Harold and Maude".

This frightens the purveyors.  Because they can nail marketing, but QUALITY?  Look at the flicks, they truly suck.  Ask the man on the street, he thinks music sucks TOO!  To the point where most people have tuned out, and the only people who can bring them back are their buds, who have a RELATIONSHIP with them.  Believe me, the marketers at Fox don’t have a relationship with their audience.  They THINK they do, but they don’t.

Everybody’s living in his own little world.  Since I was bombarded with "Borat" hype, I thought everybody was aware of the movie.  Because I don’t talk to every one of the 300 million Americans, I didn’t know I was wrong until the research came in.

Hearing the movie’s good, I’m gonna give it a chance.  Then again, if Fox keeps trumpeting the story, they’re gonna kill MY word of mouth, I don’t want to work for the man.  And neither does the Net generation.  WE make the stars, not you.  Give us reasonable choices, WE’LL do the work.  It won’t happen instantly.  First week grosses, first week SoundScan numbers, are no longer important.  It’s about longevity.  It won’t take forever, because word of mouth happens so quickly on the Net, and we’re all in touch with SO many more people on a regular basis.  But it’s now our game, not yours, don’t ever forget it.

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  2. Trackback by Music Business Blog by Jason Feinberg | 2006/11/09 at 11:15:29

    Niches and Core Fans

    Borat is a great example of knowing your fans.

  3. Pingback by links for 2006-11-16 « timtowle | 2006/11/16 at 15:48:19

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