People are like sheep. To market music, the appearance of celebrity momentum matters.
February 2, 2008
Bruce Warila in Marketing Strategies


“It’s on the radio, it has to be good.”  Of course you don’t agree with that statement, but the average person thinks it, says it and acts like every artist in heavy rotation is the second coming of Christ.  Moreover, once an artist is on the radio, the time it takes to go from lame to fame is shorter than a London summer.  

Song quality is not the major determining factor here.  Radio, among other methods, has the ability to demonstrate the appearance of celebrity momentum.  People are like sheep, or perhaps I should have said people are like primates.  

According to researchers at the Center For Cognitive Science at Duke University, “primates will perform a variety of behaviors, including pressing levers or moving their heads into a viewing channel, to gain visual access to other [powerful and attractive] individuals.  Moreover, primates will sometimes forego food rewards to view videos of [these] other individuals”.

I don’t think it matters if we are talking about oceans of fans or puddles.  If the people in your puddle think you are on your way to becoming a celebrity they press levers, move their heads and forego food to help you.        

What else generates the appearance of celebrity momentum?

It seems to me, that it doesn’t matter how good your songs are.  If your celebrity momentum starts to diminish, fans go back to eating again.  What do you think?

Thanks to Jake Halpern (WSJ, Oct. 4th, 2007) for pointing out the Duke research.


Article originally appeared on Music Think Tank (
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