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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Kanye West utilizes unique marketing for new album Yeezus


    For some artists, the time before an album’s release usually consists of a slow leak of songs, coupled with various marketing ploys and maybe even an appearance on the Today Show. But for Kanye West’s sixth album,_ Yeezus_, it’s about perfecting the art of anticipation.

    Much of the hype for the new album is generated by edgy, underground tactics, a stark contrast to West’s otherwise hot-headed public personality. One would think that the man who stole Taylor Swift’s spotlight at the 2009 Grammy’s would enlist an entire campaign management for his new album, which hit shelves yesterday.

    But the marketing team behind West’s new album decided to dig deeper in order to achieve an album debut that aired on the side of avant-garde.

    On May 24, thousands of onlookers in 12 different cities across the nation watched as West’s face was projected onto large buildings. These projections debuted West’s new song, “New Slaves.”

    Many of these projections were displayed on the side of art museums, universities’ buildings, abandoned penitentiaries and bustling street corners.

    West’s face was set to span the wall of the UA Museum of Art as well as an undisclosed location on Fourth Avenue — areas both locally known for art and collegiate culture.

    However, unsanctioned and without a permit, a handful of these projections were shut down by city authorities. Few people attended the event and even fewer had any knowledge of it in Tucson. West’s guerrilla marketing means that projections were announced just a few days in advance, which works well in a metropolitan area, but didn’t fare so well in Tucson.

    Major cities don’t respond well to reports of unwelcomed gatherings, and unfortunately for Kanye West fans in Tucson, these projections fell under that category. The marketing team behind Yeezus failed to take into account the end of the academic year, thus reducing Kanye’s fan base to a few Tucson locals. It wasn’t quite the response the team had hoped for.

    But these projections are more than just a failed marketing ploy to gather the masses with music — they’re a cultural throwback to times when listening to a debut song was a social experience, a time when neighborhood kids would huddle around a small radio to listen to new music. It could’ve been a smart idea had it been planned properly – but that would’ve reduced the edgy appeal to the campaign.

    A producer, designer and self-righteous lyricist, this is no doubt West’s attempt to branch out.

    Up until now, the only mainstream marketing technique behind the new album was a highly publicized performance on “Saturday Night Live” and an exclusive listening party with invités ranging from Beyoncé to Scott Disick.

    Although a magnet for media attention, West still remains elusive about his work. There is a method to his madness, which is often hard to see through his spats of narcissism and political finger-pointing. Yet to quote the man himself, in an extensive interview with the New York Times, West’s appeal lies in his isolation — even if that means a failed marketing strategy. Kanye isn’t trying to impress anyone: “I don’t have some type of romantic relationship with the public.”

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