A long time ago I signed up on the Verve Music site in order to gain access to some ‘exclusive’ John Coltrane content. Since 2003 I have gotten more or less weekly emails from them, generally throw-aways promoting whomever was new, but with some occasional gems. Fairly typical for a music publisher and nothing obnoxious enough to make me unsubscribe.
The last several months, however, have been a nearly daily stream of emails related to American Idol Season 5 runner-up Katharine McPhee and her latest recording “Unbroken”. Verve has been absolutely punishing my inbox with pseudo-personalized emails pushing me to check out this or that about the new release.
The music itself is the expected ‘made by committee’ pop tripe of largely rehashed and already-familiar melodies and harmonies, with mediocre vocals and heavy-handed production. The record is estimated to have sold a disappointing 35,000 copies to date.
Where McPhee has found some success is through a couple of singles: particular the song Terrified, a formula-pop song co-written by Kara Dioguardi. The song – like the record – was languishing, but then thanks to exposure and praise through a contestant this season (Didi Benami) using it as a Hollywood week song (plant!), followed quickly by a new version with Chuck star Zach Levi … and the song rocketed up to a more respectable iTunes sales figure.
So McPhee is having a decent amount of success, and has a very strong support system – this is a good thing, as I always hope for people to find success doing what they love, and hope people enjoy her music.
But it doesn’t end there. Now after getting gobs of links to the various Terrified videos, the emails have been getting more and more personal, making it seem like I am getting a letter from the singer herself! The latest has her telling me about her cool new Facebook App!
Hi Michael –
I have my very own Facebook app!
Build your Unbroken Chain to get discounts and more!
Get 3 of your friends to watch my new video “Terrified” featuring Zachary Levi.
Once you do, you’ll receive a coupon code which you can use to redeem for discounts on great music and get a free Jamie Cullum Digital EP with purchase.
Visit me on Facebook for more details and to get started.
Of course the links are all click-throughs, the app is one of those typical ‘give away your privacy’ Facebook things that pulls your contacts, and so on. And by getting three people to sign up with Verve and watch the video you get some nebulous ‘coupon’ for discounts and a set of tracks from Jamie Cullum’s well-regarded but long since faded 2009 release ‘Pursuit’.
Does anyone actually buy into this stuff? Well, I suppose some folks do, since checking her Facebook page shows her as having more than 37,000 fans! It seems like such obvious tactics to suck you into clicking because you are getting a special deal direct from a singer many liked on a pop-singing show a few years back, then harvest your contacts on a privacy-challenged site.
It is once again a reminder that we need to constantly keep track of what we are signing up for, where we click, who we send stuff to, and so on. The last few weeks have seen many cases of ‘people who should know better’ getting caught in phishing traps. So when you get a seemingly personalized email looking for you to get others to sign up for something, you know there is a corporation or scammer (or both!) at work – and beware.
As for me, I have unsubscribed from Verve – this was the end for me, if there is more Coltrane stuff pulled from the Vault, I’ll find out eventually on AllAboutJazz. For now, instead of the bland and hackneyed ‘Terrified’, I’ll leave you with a more fitting video!
Source: Verve email