“And They’re Saying it’s Because of the Internet.”

“And They’re Saying it’s Because of the Internet.”

By Victoria Dean

There’s an obvious formula for a musician to promote their newest releases: Announce the news on all their social media platforms, do a number of interviews and appearances, and constantly spam your followers with reminders.

Unless you’re rapper, Childish Gambino. He did something completely different.

In September, Gambino launched his latest project, Pharos. He organized a 3-day music festival in Joshua Tree, where he would perform his new album and premiere episodes of his new television series, Atlanta, for a limited number of fans. The entire experience was said to be completely incredible. But the attendees are the only ones who really know what it was like.

Before entering the venue, fans were asked to put their phones in a locked case that would prevent them from doing any recording. Gambino’s goal was to have Pharos strictly be an in-person experience, and for absolutely nothing to be released online.

In a lot of ways, this approach to the event had an inverse effect. He wanted there to be no leaks on social media, and it ended up getting a lot of attention on social media because of it. News spread quickly and fans were desperate to find out anything and everything that took place that weekend.

Having Pharos be so exclusive is what had people talking. Gambino used zero media, which worked to get the media’s attention. He didn’t need to congest his fans newsfeeds with constant posts promoting the show or his new music. People’s curiosity and theories of what happened during Pharos was promo in itself. He basically let his fans do all the marketing for him.

This is a perfect example of how things have changed over the last decade or so. A person not using social media is news worthy.


3 thoughts on ““And They’re Saying it’s Because of the Internet.”

  1. Do you know if any images or recordings did get leaked from the festival? Like if someone pulled the ol’ two cell phone switcheroo? I feel like those images would have created an enormous buzz just because they were contraband, and some part of me wonders if that’s what his marketing team had in mind all along. Very cool post! Thanks for sharing that.


  2. This is a really interesting twist of media. This kind of twist causes a lot of hype because people can’t experience it second-hand. I think that he can do more of these events without wearing off the novelty of the event’s styles. Though, with the success of it, it’s only a matter of time before other artists attempt to imitate it for better or for worse.


  3. I wonder if all fan reaction was the same or if there were some out there that caught on and maybe felt insulted because they felt gullible to the ruse? Or were some maybe a bit peeved because they weren’t included in the bunch that got to view firsthand? Could this backfire on the performer if they continued with this method of advertising?

    Good post! Thanks, Cam


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