Why Katy Perry's mirror ball launch can't compete with the Ed Sheeran Method

Why Katy Perry's mirror ball launch can't compete with the Ed Sheeran Method

I never had any doubt that the new single by Katy Perry – Chained To The Rhythm, you know, that song currently lodged in your cerebral cortex – would be a work of pop genius.

But I was less clear on why I was supposed to schlep to Leicester Square and track down a mirror ball in order to confirm that to be the case.

Such stunts are, of course, fun and can undoubtedly add to the sense of occasion surrounding a star’s return (even if, as one New Zealand news outlet claimed, only four people actually came to check out K-Pez’s mirror ball in Auckland).

But despite the bells and whistles surrounding digital music these days, it seems increasingly that the old methods are the ones that work best.

We’ll never return to the days when getting your 7” single in Woolworths on a Saturday was all that really mattered, but the same principles still apply: get your music in front of people when and where they want it.

This is why exclusives don’t seem to work in terms of actually selling an album and why announcing something, but not delivering it instantly, is an increasingly risky strategy in an age of minimal attention spans and reduced artist loyalty.

None of that will matter to Perry, a genuine superstar who could probably release her new music exclusively via a pigswill-filled skip in South London and still do OK. It's notable that, when Chained To The Rhythm was made available by more conventional means (and, yes, it still seems weird describing streaming, once the stuff of a madman's dreams, as 'conventional), it broke records. But maybe that record could have been even bigger if it had been there when the world first became aware of the track's existence.

And that's why, for mere mortals, what will be known in future as The Sheeran Method (ie, drop some monster tunes with zero fannying about, stay No.1 and No.2 for eternity) will be a safer bet than any amount of smoke and mirrors.


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