Marketing 101: Astroturfing

“The industry is like the f***ing Matrix!” — Big Joe


a PR tactic used in politics and advertising in which actors are paid to display overt and apparently spontaneous grassroots support for a particular product, policy, or event.

“The copyright lobby’s astroturfing site has added a new mandatory requirement for all users that want to participate in the Take Action items. According to a site user, the site now requires users to send a form letter to their relevant Member of Parliament. There are two letter options – one letter for entertainment industry employees and one general letter.

Surprisingly for a site claiming to support creativity and copyright, the letters do not provide users with the opportunity to even use their own words – the form letter cannot be edited. This is particularly striking given the earlier criticism from some of the same groups on a competing form letter service that offered users complete control over the substance of their letter and merely served as a delivery channel.

Notably, the site has already been subject to gaming from non-Canadians as a random search of members turned up at least one U.S. based record company executive with Warner Music.”

(c) Cory Doctorow –

Look out for astroturfing campaigns disguised as Twitter trending topics, groups on Facebook, Google Hot etc. There are companies you can pay who can do this for you who will make it look like viral marketing. Sometimes they pay interns to enter forums and popular music sites to wax lyrical about how great said artist is. That’s whats known as sock-puppetry (pause).

Honestly, if I was an unsigned artist who wanted to get people to pay attention, I’d probably do it. Except most of the artists that do it are already signed.


About Harlem World

the BAWSE *ross grunt*

Posted on September 5, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. RNC Chairman Michael Steele

    Do you think that it was a big factor in the careers of Wiz and Drake [since you pictured them]?

    I always kind of wondered how long Drake had been signed to Cash Money for, I mean he was shouting them out on SFG and was doing songs with Wayne for a while. Not to mention in the Carter Documentary which was filmed around the time release of Tha Carter 3 [so at least half a year before SFG], Drake was there in a candid shot outside the venue with Cortez and them before a Lil Wayne gig. I don’t know how long he was associated with them but it seems to be a long time before So Far Gone was released. But then there was a bidding war.

    With Wiz it seems more obvious he was signed for a bit and the label just let him appear unsigned to help his grassroots buzz.

    • I would say so.
      The thing about Wiz is that he’s been pitches as an independent/unsigned artist. But his last album was distributed through Rostrum/Warner.

      The whole deal about Drake was that he was allegedly unsigned and appeared out of nowhere, but had all this publicity.
      So Far Gone was clearly astroturfed in my opinion. The proof being that it is near impossible to get state to state airplay without a labels backing.
      Drake’s management are big power players, but a radio campaign the size of So Far Gone’s (Successful, Best I Ever Had etc) would had to have be planned way in advance.

  2. RNC Chairman Michael Steele

    Thanks for the reply and keep up the GREAT work man.

    This is an awesome blog. All of the stuff you’ve written on ghost writers, producers, and the music biz have really changed the way I look at pop music. Good stuff.

  1. Pingback: How The Internet Changed Hip Hop – Part 1: Print Media « H World

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