When Self Promotion Goes Awry

It’s got to suck when you go out and try to promote your music using social media, and someone you admire (who also happens to be using social media) decides to publicly call you out for daring to send your music to him.

That’s what happened to Eric Victorino, lead singer for San Francisco’s The Limousines, who had the chutzpah to send his video by link to Bob Lefsetz, influential music critic who has been known as something of a Yoda among industry executives.

Ouch! Not quite sure the snarky reply was necessary, Bob ...

But this time Yoda bit back, and the resulting exchange was revealing. Clearly Lefsetz doesn’t believe a song deserves to be hyped unless someone a few degrees away from the artist does the hyping. Obviously he is sure to get thousands of emails and tweets a day from Joe Schmoes trying to promote music that simply isn’t good enough. That’s fine. But he probably also gets thousands of emails a day from public relations folks promoting music from Joe Schmoes that simply isn’t good enough.

And you know what? I doubt that he responds as rudely and publicly as he did with this kid when he gets one of their tweets or emails.

Bob Lefsetz

Bob Lefsetz -- Credit: Creative Commons.

Regardless of where you stand on hype, if you’re in the music business and you put your name out there as a guru, you’re going to get people wanting to have you hear their music. And if you don’t like it, the responsible thing is just to delete it and move on.

Eric Victorino didn’t do anything wrong. He got a tweet from Lefsetz asking if “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People is a hit. He responded that it was, and so was his song (which incidentally has two times the views as the song Lefsetz hyped). When he later wrote to Lefsetz asking what he was supposed to do, as a do-it-yourself band without a promotor to hype for him, he was told rudely (and again publicly) that his fans should do the hyping for him if he’s really any good.

What a load of crap.

The Limousines

The Limousines -- Credit: http://www.metronomereview.com

In the world of music marketing there’s a lot of luck involved in everything, but more than that there’s the money. Money buys hits, and money can also buy fans. If a band pays for a good enough marketing arm, chances are they’re going to get played on the radio, or their music’s going to be mentioned enough on Twitter and Facebook that guys like Bob Lefsetz will notice and chime in with their “is this a hit?” queries. If you’re working on your own from the bottom, you do what you have to do to make sure people hear your music. If that means Bob Lefsetz gets a few too many emails or tweets a day, that’s a hazard of the business.

Hell, I write a blog maybe 2,000 people a month read, and I get all kinds of daily emails from record labels and PR firms trying to get me to write about their bands. Some are good, and I’m glad to know about them. Others suck, and I’m still glad enough about the good that I’m willing to just delete the bad and move on.

Seems Bob Lefsetz could take a lesson from that.

And in the end, the song wasn’t that bad! In fact, it was catchy enough I’d be interested to hear the rest of the band’s album, something that never would have crossed my mind if a kid from California hadn’t decided to “hype his shit” to Bob Lefsetz. Somehow I think he’d really hate knowing he’d played a part in that.

Here’s the video — enjoy!

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4 thoughts on “When Self Promotion Goes Awry

  1. HA!

    small world.

    What’s most amusing about this is that I’ve got a band I am proud of, I want to tell the world all about it – I don’t think I should have to pay someone to pretend to like my shit in order to get other people to pay attention… I’m promoting my band – my product – This Lefsetz character is promoting nothing BUT himself… Not only that, he’s written before about how the industry is dying and it’s up to the artist to do what they can independently to break through. What a hypocrite.

    send me an address or something, I’d be happy to send you the full album. (err, I mean, I’ll have one of “my people” get in touch with “your people”)

  2. Pingback: Self Promotion In A Narcissistic World or: The Pot Calls The Kettle Black | Music.Linnnk

  3. So how do fans get a hold of Bob Lefsetz to hype bands we believe in? The man makes his money telling other people what they should like. Personally I value my own opinion and taste. We now live in a world of self promotion, it is the way it is.

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