Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: Gearing Up the Pop Hype Machine

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Gearing Up the Pop Hype Machine

Does MySpace really work as a hype engine? Although some might suggest that Arctic Monkeys already answered that question, according to the latest issue of Q magazine (new to these shores, but out in the UK for a month or more), yes it does. Q set up a fake band on a MySpace page to see what would happen. Unfortunately, Q doesn't deign to put much content up on its Website, so you'll have to pick up the 80s issue yourself for the details, but it seemed to work. The faux band was Hope Against Hope, and here's their MySpace page. The picture is a Q intern and a couple of his friends. "The band" put up two songs and then seemed to hit the Friends functions of MySpace pretty hard to get a buzz going. Apparently Alan McGee, former head of Creation Records, offered to book them into his hot club of the moment, Death Disco. (Although in McGee’s defense, he'd probably argue that he wasn't scammed so much as he was leaving himself open to the new communications possibilities of the Internet. Check him out as he rhapsodizes on his own MySpace blog about his new ability to digitally cut out the middle man.)

There was a bit if coverage in the UK about the hoax. The Independent provided a fairly straightforward account, and The Guardian used the opportunity to review great rock'n'roll hype of the past. The Times discussed the whole idea of image in pop culture. The fake Hope Against Hope songs were provided by Howl Griff, who's older and less photogenic than the original Hope Against Hope gang (here's his MySpace page). Although he's getting some exposure, the industry doesn't seem quite as excited to have him performing these hot new songs as it did those other guys. Imagine that.


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