The Idolmaker

That’s what Tommy Mottola did so well, following in the steps of legendary, antiquated, Clive Davis.  He created an IMAGE!  You didn’t sell who the person actually was, but who the audience wanted them to be!

Everyone was aspirational.  If only you could party with Mariah…  You had no idea she was a junk food junkie in real life, hell, you had no idea who she was, other than the girl with the voice prancing in the videos.

This Susan Boyle story is amazing.  A prepackaged video is released by Simon Cowell, fanning the flames of her obscurity to ubiquity story.  Unfortunately, it’s not true.  She’s been trying to make it for eons.  New videos keep surfacing of the way she was…

That’s today’s clip, Susan’s rendition of "The Way We Were". You’ll be stunned, she’s thin, almost fuckable.  As for her vocals?

Not quite as good as her version of "Cry Me A River" from 1999.

Nor as good as her take on "Killing Me Softly".

We can analyze the impact on the Susan Boyle juggernaut, but more interesting is the impact on those with more talent, who are not beneficiaries of train-wreck publicity/hysteria.

If you’re trying to remake someone, trying to project a perfect image, not long after you release your finished product, Awful Plastic Surgery will post the before pictures.  And then TMZ and Perez will pick up on them and spread them (hell, I found out about the "Way We Were" video on Mario Lavendeira’s site…he reaches the target demo, those interested in music, possibly better than ANYBODY!)

Eventually, your complete resume will end up online.

Not only where you went to school, but your summer camp pictures, videos of you in the talent show…  Your old love will unload your story on Facebook…

That’s the price for playing in the public eye.

But it’s even worse.  That’s the price for being a PERSON these days.  Unless you’re willing to live in a dark closet alone, your life is public property.  The only question is, does anybody other than a small circle of friends care?

Get injections for Trout Pout, word is on the street almost immediately.

Fuck up in concert because you can’t really sing and a homemade video revealing your screw-ups will be online the next day.  Have you been following the Britney mistakes?  She may be trying to rehabilitate her image in the straight press, but anybody who follows her online knows she’s looney-tunes.

Madonna falls off a horse and blames it on the paparazzi?

Truth outs.  Photographers were nowhere near the accident.

This is a SEA CHANGE in publicity/image-making.  In other words, you can no longer spin the public.  You can have friends in the press, but didn’t you hear that newspapers are dying?

So you have to ask yourself what you’re selling, and focus on THAT!

In the music world, we focus on music.  On one hand that sounds simple, on another REVOLUTIONARY!  Because it hasn’t been about music in oh-so-long, certainly not in the mainstream.

Looking good has just gotten demoted.

If you’re a product of handlers, the truth will out.  If you can’t sing a note and are auto-tuned, if you have ghost writers, you’d better be proud of this, because the public is going to know the truth soon.

So reveal the truth first.  It’s not about holding back, but delivering more info.  If you reveal all your warts on your site, people will soon ignore them, will stop playing a game of Gotcha! and focus on what you’re truly selling. Rather than holding information back, publicity reps need to focus on getting info OUT!

Susan Boyle’s publicity is mega, but those truly interested, outside of Britain, are a niche at best.

This week, the number one album is by Rick Ross, it sold a grand total of 157,544 copies.  Pretty stinky in a nation of 300 million.

But let me speak a language you’ll understand.  The vaunted Miley Cyrus?  The soundtrack of her supposed hit movie?  After five weeks in release, it’s got a cume of 658,835, and the movie’s already slipped to number 8, on its way to oblivion.

So all that publicity, it doesn’t deliver the success of yore.  There are no diamond sellers like in the nineties.  We all take a peek at the train-wreck, most of us move on.  Those that last have substance, they’re not creatures of some marketer’s dream.

We live in a changed world.

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