People will always find new ways to advertise music, no matter how it’s being consumed or which genres are most popular. It’s the nature of the industry, and in a way it’s what keeps it fresh. But in recent years we’ve seen some pretty unexpected trends arising in this regard. Some are intentional, others are artistic, and some seem to be completely accidental. Here’s a look at a number of surprising developments in music publicity that we’ve seen of late.
Closer Ties To Film
There’s no specific way to define this phenomenon other than to say that music seems to be playing a more important role in movies. Daft Punk has done an entire soundtrack for a movie (Tron); modern hip-hop remixes have featured in a pseudo-western (Django Unchained); the new movie Baby Driver is expected to be largely driven by its soundtrack; and a film about the rise of N.W.A. earned a perfect four stars from Roger Ebert’s review site. Not all of these examples are meant specifically as marketing ventures, but it’s pretty clear that the movie industry is doing more to help popularize music new and old.
A Documentary Boom
There has been a boom in the number of music-related documentaries in circulation, and this mostly serves to advertise some older, classic musicians and bands. This is largely thanks to streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Now, where a lot of docs tend to pop up at random. But there are other examples also. For instance, CNN has gotten a lot of attention of late for producing a series on the songs that define history (or at least some of modern history’s most compelling chapters). It’s a fascinating way to look back at influential songs, and it’s helping to make some older acts popular all over again.
We don’t see too many mainstream artists contributing their sound to ordinary video games, with the exception of series like Guitar Hero and Rock Band. But we have started to see some interesting games in very specific genres incorporating sounds from famous bands. NetEnt, a company known for developing games for online casino sites, has probably had the most significant impact in this area. In the spring of 2016, they released a new slot reel that was all about Motorhead. And as it turns out, it was just one of several such games with classic rock themes, because Guns N’ Roses and Jimi Hendrix feature in similar content. Meanwhile, we’ve seen mobile spins on the Guitar Hero concept, with the developer Smule putting out numerous ways to play through modern pop songs. All of these games serve to advertise their musical content.
The New Diva Feuds
Lastly, and perhaps least seriously, we’re entering a new era of diva feuds. This is something that’s happened throughout musical history between certain artists and groups, and some of the most popular names in the business are at it again. Taylor Swift and Katy Perry are certainly developing a history, and for that matter Swift has gotten into it with Nicki Minaj also. There’s no telling how much of this is manufactured, but it does accomplish one positive goal for the artists: it keeps their names in the headlines.