MySpace phenomenon, my arse

Many, many years ago – in the mid 90s – I was in a band with a chap called Mark. Mark knew a girl called Tippi – they were from the same bit of Scotland – and she annoyed him immensely: she was one of those “I want to be famous at all costs” types, and at the time she was apparently modelling herself on Natalie Imbruglia.

After numerous style changes, Tippi was signed to a Scots management firm who put her records out on their own label. When she murdered The Blue Nile’s Tinseltown in the Rain (a dancey single in 2002 which, incidentally, attracted some particularly transparent astroturfing on Amazon), Mark was so upset that his large intestine attempted to throttle his brain. I’m quite sure that Tippi’s 2004 direction – a love of Led Zep and AC/DC producing music that sounded like, er, Sheryl Crow and The Bangles – caused Mark to hurl his naked body onto broken glass and rusty nails.

He’d have been really pissed off if he’d read this week’s Sunday Times “Ecosse” section: Tippi’s back, this time as singer with MySpace garage rock “phenomenon” The Hedrons. But I’m not just posting this to annoy Mark (although that’s a big motivator) but also to point out that whenever you see a story about a MySpace phenomenon, it’s usually bollocks.

Rather than coming from nowhere and building an online buzz, Tippi and her pals are signed to No Half Measures management, a very good management company indeed, and the band’s success so far is due to boss Dougie Souness’s contact book and Tippi’s previous life as a Weller-supporting “what style of music is popular this week, boss?” solo artist. MySpace is a red herring: yet again, it’s being used to put a grass-roots veneer on a very polished and very professional PR strategy.

Remember, pop kids: if it says MySpace, it’s from The Man!

21 thoughts on “MySpace phenomenon, my arse

  1. david says:

    Is the name of the band anything to do with the fact that Tippi Hedren was in The Birds?

  2. david says:

    That’s really crap.

    “What shall we call the band?”
    “Let’s name our band with a misspelling of the surname of an actress who shares part of the singers name”
    “Obviously adding ‘The’ too”
    “Brilliant”
    “OK – who can think of any actresses called Senga?”

    How does one model themselves on Natalie Imbrooglywoogly without starring in Neighbours and being Australian?

  3. Squander Two says:

    It is extremely rare for any band name that starts with “the” and ends with “s” to be any good. It was OK in the Sixties, but it’s getting a tad boring.

  4. tm says:

    By making sure the only semi-good song you’ve ever performed is a cover of an unknown scandinavian track but not quite remembering to tell anyone? ;-)

    Or am I being harsh?

  5. tm says:

    Yeah, once we’d convered all the insects (Beatles, Crickets, etc) that vein of band names was pretty much mined out…

    It could be worse though. They could be called razorlight. And, remember children, that crime against musical sense was acheieved without the help of myspace.

    The internet just gives us new ways to do the same old things…

  6. Gary says:

    Sorry, forgot to mention this bit in the main post: the fact that the Sunday Times is owned by Murdoch, who owns MySpace, is in no way connected to the uncritical coverage of supposed MySpace Phenomena in the Sunday Times. Hope that’s clear.

  7. mark - tartanpodcast.com says:

    Dougie is a savvy guy, I’d love to know the mechanics of getting so much exposure via myspace.
    I’ve received an email from an ex-podcaster in Edinburgh who now works for No Half Measures who wants me to promote the Hedrons new track….Hmm….

  8. Gary says:

    Hey Mark, I hope you’re well.

    > Dougie is a savvy guy

    He is indeed. No Half Measures are very good at getting press, name supports and other interesting things.

    > I’d love to know the mechanics of getting so much exposure via myspace.

    I think in this case a big part of it is custom-building your product to suit your intended audience, and it’s clearly worked. As a solo artist Tippi’s myspace friends list was relatively pitiful – 800ish, I think – but this time it’s what? 35K? I think there’s an element of the snowball effect on myspace too, so I’m not suggesting that friends list is faked in any way; I just think it’s the result of lots of effort, high profile gigs and some well-timed publicity (NHM got the hedrons in the NME, for example). In the case of the gigs and the publicity neither of those would be achievable without good management behind you.

  9. mark - tartanpodcast.com says:

    I’m doing well, enjoying my copy of Photoshop Elements…

    Everything you’re saying about the Hedrons makes me question whether I should play them on my podcast. If they’re alread getting a lot of exposure should I play them over some other under-exposed band? (rhetorical Q)

  10. Gary says:

    Elements… heh, sorry that took so long.

    I think the only consideration for a podcaster is whether you like the song or not. Let’s face it, hype isn’t exactly rare in the world of music :)

  11. Gary says:

    Incidentally, I’d just like to point out that podcasting Mark isn’t the same Mark I’m talking about in the post. Podcasting Mark’s considerably less ginger.

  12. Tim Worstall says:

    Well, if you hang out in the low rent writers foums that I do you’ll see how at least some of the MySpace buzz is created. $12 for a 1,000 word essay reviewing a live performance on a MySpace site?
    Norwegian rockers no less.

  13. Gary says:

    Tim, that would make a good (and well-paid!) feature. You should chin Charles Arthur at the Graun about it…

  14. Gary says:

    They were something of a local legend in the glasgow area a few years ago. They were going to be the next oasis, and were famed for their egos. They didn’t become the next oasis, which caused some amusement in the glaswegian music scene.

  15. mark - tartanpodcast.com says:

    Gary Says:
    Incidentally, I’d just like to point out that podcasting Mark isn’t the same Mark I’m talking about in the post. Podcasting Mark’s considerably less ginger.

    –very true, but only due to me losing most of my hair in the 6 and a half years since my son was born.

    Gary also says:
    I think the only consideration for a podcaster is whether you like the song or not. Let’s face it, hype isn’t exactly rare in the world of music.

    –true for the most part, but I’ve played stuff I haven’t liked very much but thought would be the cup of tea of some of the listeners. The Hedrons, tho, not so sure…

  16. Jimbob says:

    Hi,

    What next for Tippi? I’d heard she was going to Jamaica to do some dub tracks at King Tubby’s because you know “reggae was always her first love”.

    At 38 she should give up and go and try and present some kids TV show somewhere. The Hedrons are what someone who doesnt like rock would come up with if they made a band up.

    As regards myspace it is just being hijacked by people like Tippi and record companies. Still, it does allow some bands/artists to get heard. The jury is still out on that one.

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