Wired immune to PR

In this Wired piece on Beck Steve Silberman writes “If you feel like you’ve been hearing about Beck’s new album everywhere lately, you probably have. Like most major-label hits, Guero’s ubiquity is the result of a carefully calibrated PR campaign that began long before the CD’s street date. But Beck and his label, Interscope, went way beyond the norm, supplementing the usual onslaught of TV, radio, and print marketing with a cross-platform blitz of iTunes exclusives, downloadable videos, and releases catering to digital consumers. This includes a deluxe CD/DVD-Audio package featuring a 5.1-surround mix and visuals you can control with your DVD player’s remote.”

Seems like he’s confusing PR with marketing and with product. PR is what got this piece written. We’re hearing about Beck right as we read the article. In a print publication. There’ll probably be a piece in the New Yorker, next weekend’s Sunday NYT, something on NPR, and of course Rolling Stone magazine and beyond. That doesn’t happen because of marketing – marketing helps create consumer awareness. The articles appear not because the journos are savvy and are tracking what’s hot, but because PR flack calls or emails or faxes to the right people at the publication and “sells” them on the idea of writing about it.

And Silberman knows that; he’s a professional journalist (ipso facto; he’s being published in Wired), so why this disingenous reporting on the technological innovation in product delivery and marketing under the label of PR? I guess it positions Wired as being immune to the machincations of the companies for whom they (and all of the media, including the “public” or “indie” media) willingly shills; rather we imagine Wired as investigative and cutting-edge. Which is of course, bullshit.


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