R.I.P. Authenticity, you had a good run

The last shark in the Atlantic was jumped today when a former classical music magazine editor’s consulting firm issued a press release announcing that the company would be handling pianist Lang Lang’s social media. Said shark-jumping was posted about on Slipped Disc earlier today. The press release, which can be found in its entirety here, explains:

IPMC to help deepen the star pianist’s relationship with vast online community Inverne Price Music Consultancy has signed an exclusive agreement for social networking strategic services with Lang Lang. Arguably the world’s most in-demand pianist, Lang Lang connects with millions of followers across his various online platforms.

“As a musician who has just turned 30, Lang Lang is of his generation – but it’s not only his generation who spend much of their lives communicating through Twitter, Facebook and the rest,” says Inverne Price’s James Inverne, “So many of us now live much of our lives online, and Lang Lang uses these new media channels excitingly to spread the word about the world’s greatest music. And in so doing, he touches millions with his own talent.”

The company will work with Lang Lang and his colleagues at CAMI Music, Sony and elsewhere both on day-to-day interactions and on developing bigger online projects.

As a friend emailed, “I love the declaration that he’s so young and hip that he understands… the need to hire someone else to take care of social media.  Because that works every time.”

A commenter on Slipped Disc writes:

I will say, there’s no bigger turn-off than an artist’s Twitter feed that appears to be coming from a PR rep (see: Lorin Maazel, Leif Ove Andsnes, Alan Gilbert). Similarly, there’s a reason why celebs like Alec Baldwin and Kanye West have such huge Twitter followings: It’s actually their thoughts and opinions behind the messages. If Lang Lang’s Twitter feed starts to read like a series of press releases, people will stop paying attention. James is a smart fellow, so he should realize that.

Alec Baldwin (though now he’s quit…again?) and Kanye West, yes…and Newark, NJ mayor Cory Booker, who Tweets back at his constituents on topics ranging from exercise to roads to city hotlines.

When asked how he has time to Tweet, Booker usually responds that he’s in cars a lot.

In the fall, Mayor of Twitterville Ashton Kutcher handed over his feed to a PR firm. That situation, though, was because Kutcher didn’t realize why Joe Paterno had been fired (eek) and consequently offended thousands of people. It was understandable, then, to take some action. It seems he’s back to Tweeting for himself now.

I personally like being wished ‘Good Morning!’ and ‘Good Night!’ by Lin-Manuel Miranda every day.

I blogged about publicists Tweeting as classical musicians here last year when I noticed “Daniel Barenboim” “Tweeting” about “himself” in the third person. Basically, if you don’t have time to Tweet, you should change profession! Go sell sunblock somewhere: that’s no way to live! If you don’t have interest in Tweeting, that’s fine, we understand, but then, let’s hear from you another way: blogging, post-concert discussions, YouTube videos, Tumblr, Flickr (what does the Internet have against the vowel ‘e’?), Instagram, Facebook, and sure, even good old-fashioned post concert receptions! Or just playing the piano. That’s OK, too.

The distribution of a press release to announce social media representation is a new one, though. If you’re going to be taking over an artist’s social media presence, why not announce it…on that social media? Why does the press care who is Tweeting for whom and why? Tweet it, slap it on Facebook, and let the fans and followers decide if they want to stick around for the Strategy.


Update, 1 a.m. July 3: comment on Slipped Disc

James Inverne says:

Hi all, thanks for your interest. Having just seen this, allow me to clarify – the messages coming from Lang Lang will be coming from Lang Lang. They will be his thoughts, his opinions and (as in my previous incarnation as the editor of a respected magazine) I would not dream of having anything posted with his signature that did not come from him. We are there to assist with strategy, as Janey suggests, to take on some of the administrative tasks, and to keep up with and advise on the development of a fast-moving online world. It’s simply about finding the best ways that Lang Lang might want to evangelise about music he loves, keep people in touch with his movements, and spread the word about some of the causes that are dear to him (such as working with children and music education).

All the best,

I will not be issuing a press release about this update.

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  1. Reiner Torheit says

    Tweeting is for twits.

    I’ve noticed that the level to which performers are involved in social media is in direct inverse proportion to their career success. The more hopeless the career – the more FaceBook entries. And tweets four times so.