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January 15, 2007

Could Koopa be the first?

In my thesis research so far I have been at pains to distinguish between music that has become popular of its own - via the network of fans and so on - and music that has become popular because a large, established company has gotten behind it and given it a good, old-fashioned push with deep advertising pockets. So far, that claim has been made that acts like The Arctic Monkeys, Sandi Thom, and MC Lars are in the former category but a quick scratch of their history shows that are in the latter. For example, MC Lars has the same management as Avril Lavigne and Barenaked Ladies, and that particular (Canadian) firm, Nettwerk, is brilliant at these kinds of promotions. They absolutely lead the field (I wanna interview them).

Tha latest act thrown up by the mainstream press is Koopa. A bunch of likely lads from Colchester, who are beneficiaries of a change in charting policy that includes all legitimate downloads as sales. They have enetered the UK top 40 since January 1. Could they be the first to have "made it" onto the charts without major promotional support?

A quick perusal of their website does not inspire me with coinfidence. It's far too slick and well-produced to have been made on the cheap by a band. The "E-teams", merchandise and the image manipulation is a giveaway that someone is driving a marketing strategy that's very advanced and probably quite expensive ... not that that's a bad thing, just that it's evidence that, even if it's not a recognised major label, someone with deep pockets is backing these guys. Also, the technical sophistication of knowing that your audience is buying on mobile phones rather than download sites indicates some serious planning and organisation ... advertising on the site ...

Their first release had a chart position ... but then, the songs on MySpace definitely sound Indie. Certainly, someone's been making connections on their behalf - songs on a Football compilation, placement in the BBC ... but then, that's what good business is about, not necessarily the preserve of deep-pocketed fraudsters. Either they've done it very well or ... it's much harder to judge when I can't hear the single ...

They credit many years of gigging hard. Anyway, if it isn't genuine, they're going to a lot of trouble to disguise the fact - no contacts or details about management, etc (not that that's unusual) ... let's hope it is and that they get the awards they're nominated for. It's only a matter of time until someone gets there ...

Posted by Hughie at January 15, 2007 11:20 AM

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