These fan club members were basically members of the artist’s Street Team, and now they’re being blamed for the astro-turfing (artificial grass-roots campaign) and the lies. The thing is that Street Teams are the unpaid reps of the artist who do things specifically that the PR firm and management can deny later; postering illegally, distributing flyers, putting stickers everywhere, graffiti, etc. The idea is to advertise the artist, to create a “Buzz” around them, and push their otherwise unnoticed work on to stardom.
Wright (the singer) said she was ”shocked, saddened and deeply upset by this unethical behavior.” She said Walter (fan club president) was ”an unpaid volunteer who acted without my knowledge or direction.”
What happens when the streat team lies or is caught doing illegal things? They’re removed from the program and they don’t get points toward free CDs or concert tickets. Plausible deniability. That’s what they sign up to do… and they get points for different activities. Putting up a poster might get you 1 point, putting up a poster and taking a photo of it gets you 2 points. Requesting the song and getting it played might get you 5 points if you can prove it was your request. Going into your local record store and recommending the album to someone there who then buys it might get you 100 points, etc etc.
Often you lie to people, covering up the fact that you’re a shill for the company or artist… and when you’re found out, often people feel cheated. Especially when it’s in regard to an “artist” who sings a song called “The Bumper of My SUV.” I feel cheated already and I haven’t even heard the song…
Lyrics from the song;
I’ve got a bright red sticker on the back of my car
Says United States Marines
And yesterday a lady in a mini-van held up a middle finger at me
Does she think she knows what I stand for
Or the things that I believe
Just by looking at a sticker for the US Marines
On The Bumper Of My SUV
So I hope that lady in her mini-van
Turns on her radio and hears this from me
As she picks up her kids from their private school
And drives home safely on our city streets
Or to the building where her church group meets
The singer questions this woman in the minivan judging her based on a sticker, and she judges this woman in the minivan as having kids in a private school, etc. Come on, you’re driving around in your SUV chatting on your phone and you likely just cut the minivan off. I suppose it’s easier for you to think that she’s angry at your sticker than at your negligence.
Anyhow, this method of advertising is nothing new, and it must be ethical – reputable companies like Marlboro and Bacardi has been using it for years, and there’s that BzzAgent.com thing too.
Oddly enough, there is no wikipedia page for “Street Team” … I suppose I will have to write one up now.