“I love Luke Bryan and he’s had some great songs, but this new song is the worst song I’ve ever heard,” said Zac Brown of country music’s Zac Brown Band. “I know Luke, he’s a friend. ‘[That’s] My Kinda Night’ is one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard.”
As a marketing and PR person, a scary professional fear is having your client go off on a tangent and say something that could cause a windfall. People have mouths; therefore stupid things sometimes come out. Social media makes the stupid fly across invisible internet airwaves faster than ever and before you know it, you’re quote is yanked out of context and slapped in front of every single person possible.
And stupidity turns into marketing and PR pulling all-nighters jacked up on espresso and 5-hour energy to spin it to help their client.
Those of us who are country music fans have been getting an eye-full of tweets, posts and pictures in regards to ZBB’s founding member’s quote. But what we haven’t heard is how Luke Bryan really feels about this.
A keen marketing eye knows behind the scenes, teams are working overtime to reduce damage on Brown’s side and to capitalize on Bryan’s side.
Wait … Capitalize? Really?
Absolutely. Imagine how many more downloads and/or spins Luke Bryan’s song, ‘That’s My Kinda Night’ received after Zac Brown’s remarks went viral. Those who really don’t even know who Bryan is more than likely spent the 99 cents to download the tune just to listen to it to see what the buzz was about. Out of that download, some became fans, some confirmed Brown’s feelings and others remain indifferent (but they still bought the song).
In a typical day a song rating on Billboard Charts will more than likely receive 5-10 air plays based on its place on those charts. You can count on these spins during heavy traffic times, i.e. rush hour in the morning and evenings. These playlists are managed by the radio stations but do have some wiggle room when it comes to being able to insert requests or songs that might all of a sudden need more attention than normal.
Based on this, one can imagine Bryan’s ‘worst song I’ve ever heard’ is likely receiving 2-3 more spins throughout the day just so talkative DJs can spout their opinions and possibly solicit those of listeners.
Also the sound clips now being played during media mentions in entertainment news and shorts online, on air and on TV. All of this is money in Bryan’s music machine’s pocket.
The fact Bryan has not come out and discussed or responded to Brown’s comments is also very calculated. Without a response from Bryan, his media team is putting him in a place to look somewhat victimized and vulnerable. He hasn’t come out and said it doesn’t faze him. He hasn’t shot back in defense of his musical choices. He has just kept quiet.
This is so he can get a few more days of buzz around this before dignifying it with a response – if he even does respond. Timing is everything. The fact this ‘news’ hit early/midweek gives the offending tune time to gain momentum on the charts before the new ones are published. These types of maneuvers can garner an artist a major jump in charts.
Now Zac Brown … What’s the damage?
Well, while his team is on the defensive, they probably aren’t sweating too much. Brown has a rough look. He’s bearded, rather lumberjack-like and is a little gruff. He shot off his mouth but didn’t really cause any damage. He gave his opinion and it is a valid one as the like/dislike of a particular artist or song is purely subjective.
Where Brown’s team is probably having a bit of a fight is the fact Bryan is a very down-home guy. His adorable southern drawl and good ol’ boy looks (and the smile) could almost make the remark seem petty and vindictive. This is where containment is an issue as several artist have already come out in support of Bryan and have (not in name) ripped Brown and his remarks.
Now Brown’s team has allowed him to come out and further explain he was simply expressing his opinion of a song – not the artist. And of course, this is the conclusion anyone reading the quote would’ve come to on their own.
So while tweets and posts are flying off the fingers of socially active fans, remember this before you send an insult to a fellow music fan:
The Brown and Bryan buzz is money in the bank … (ugh try to say that one 10 times, fast) … and a lesson in fantastically fun marketing.