Post Tagged with: "Mary J Blige"

Mary J Blige On Stage Black and White Photo

What Happened When Mary J. Blige DM’d Us

A push notification came up on my phone that Mary J. Blige had sent us a DM. My first thought was “What the fuck?!”. I then briefly imagined a scene where I was sitting in the front row, I think at MSG, with the rest of Mary J.’s team. She was closing the show with “I’m Goin’ Down” and I was proud, like her close associates around me.

I’m a Mary J. fan, but not as crazy into her as the sentences above proclaim. In this moment, I’m ashamed to admit, I was just ego boosted that the Queen Of Hip-Hop Soul (or at least her team) had taken the time out to message us.

It all went downhill from here.

After I acknowledged my mental fangirling, I took a moment to reaffirm my masculinity. I did this by telling myself that I would open the DM, but I would only work with her if it was really worth my time. I do this a lot, I think it’s my way of trying to stay grounded and realising that the longer I stay starstruck, the less I think with business sense.

I opened the DM, it read as follows:

“I’m in London this Fri for #TheLondonSessions screening. Pre-order my new album here by Thurs for a chance to come!

Ah, shit. I’d been duped. I felt stupid. Then, I felt annoyed.

The 411

I’m not here to criticize anyone’s marketing team, after all, she does pretty well for herself. But, I’ve seen this kind of message before and I am certain that there were a lot of users who were equally disappointed.

There are a few problems with this direct message.

  1. Twitter has grown up. This “first person” style DM is just no longer acceptable, it insults a user’s intelligence (especially after you get over the daydreaming). Mary has over 5million followers, there’s no way she’d send a message like this.
  2. It’s basically asking me to pre-order the album, but there’s nothing at all on the landing page (from the link at the end of the DM) that highlights that in return I would get the opportunity to attend the screening. Check it out for yourselves by clicking this link. This leads me to wonder whether there was even a competition element to this campaign or whether her team were just instructed to boost pre-orders.
  3. In line with the point above, the screening was on a Friday and they sent this message out on the Tuesday. Pretty late for anyone who genuinely would want to attend?
  4. This last point isn’t necessarily a problem, more a recommendation to Universal/her team or an instruction to those guys out there who use Google Analytics to tag and track URLs. In the link within the DM, Mary’s team have tagged up the campaign as follows:
    1. Campaign: MaryJTheLondonSessions
    2. Content: MaryJTheLondonSessions
    3. Medium: Tweet
    4. Source: Twitter

To break this down:

Campaign: MaryJTheLondonSessions. 

This is fine.

Content: MaryJTheLondonSessions.

This is not fine. The “Content” variable should be used to identify different types of messaging that is being used. The fact that this just repeats the campaign name suggests to me that there was one blanket DM sent as part of her entire Twitter DM campaign.

Medium: Tweet

Not fine. In this example, I would have used the medium of direct message to be as specific as possible.

Source: Twitter

This is fine.

In addition to the above, all of the campaign variables should have been written in lower case. The reason for this is because Google Analytics treats each variation of letter casing as something different. For example marjlondonsessions/MaryJLondonSessions would be considered separate campaigns. It only takes one team member to get this wrong and you’ve got the tedious task of having to combine campaign data. Not fun.

So, what happened when Mary J DM’d us?

I felt good, then I felt stupid and then I decided to put my stupidity to use. As a Twitter user, I expect more from a major label team. Have you got any good examples of DM’s you’ve been disappointed by?

Lost In The Mix – Where Did All The Female Singers Go?

Sit back, empty your mind and ready yourself for the forthcoming question. Ready? Okay, how many significant female singers within Hip-Hop and it’s related genres can you name that have emerged in the last 20 years? By ‘significant’, we’re talking about having an impact  through record sales, credibility or both.

Have a think. Ready?…

My guess is that the following names will be kickin’ about your brain: Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott, Alicia Keys, Mary J Blige, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, India Arie, Aaliyah… maybe even Rihanna thrown in at the end.

Now break that down to the last 10 years… a little harder right? We’re given just Jill Scott, Alicia Keys and India Arie, who were all fresh to this millennium. Leaving just Rihanna who crept in around 2005 and is arguably more pop orientated despite working with a number of Hip-Hop artists. Forget about the last 5 years. Scary.

So…erm… where did all the female singers go?

Have the ladies mentioned above dominated the industry so heavily that others couldn’t break through? Have the trends and changes in music over the last decade meant that the art and technical ability in singing doesn’t count for much anymore? Maybe reality music shows killed the creative skill of artists being able to carve out their own vocal style?

Remember when you heard ‘Fallin’ by Alicia Keys back in 2001? Her vocal was so raw that you could connect and you knew she’d be around for a long time coming. How many female singers have you heard that have put themselves across in that way since?

Alicia Keys

Even if there are talented female singers out there looking for exposure, most have to juggle with the idea of jeopardising their own vocal ability in favour of featuring on a record produced in a way that reflects a current trend. Think about the dominating dance phase we’re going through.

In fact, this also coincides with the fact that producers and production teams are now getting as much recognition as artists themselves. Though for some producers this recognition is overdue, it’s also a glowing example of how the industry has changed. Are all the great singers being overshadowed by the production around them? We’re all able to hear but how many of us are willing to listen?

So, the next time a heartfelt harmony or ambitious melisma catches your attention, take note. We need to support gifted female vocalists before they all fade out.

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