I did a piece for Music Think Tank recently that explored the use of controversy in music marketing, with an in depth look at how artists such as Lady GaGa get people talking. If you can succeed in getting people to argue amongst themselves, you’ve really got some serious momentum in your promotional campaign.
I also talk about the kinds of bands this can work for, and it may not be what you think. For example, metal or rock bands who lean towards nihilistic or satanic subject matter tend to try to use shock value in their music, but it doesn’t usually work in their favor because those choices are typical for their genre.
The artists who tend to surprise and shock us are the extreme individuals – the original “one of a kind” artists who genuinely blaze their own path. For example, a politically charged r & b artist, a zombie pop band or a reggae/hard rock act. The herd mentality that each music genre encourages doesn’t help bands really get noticed outside their own scene.
The point is – instead of “preaching to the converted”, focus on what is most original about your music and play it up.
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