deadmau5 and Ash Pournouri (Avicii's Manager) got into a Twitter spat last week. If you're not one to follow EDM celebrity social media feuds, here's a summary: Ash re-tweeted something from Steve Angello about caring about one’s own career, and deadmau5 fired back with some serious snark.
It has gone on from there - you get the idea.
But let's pretend for a second that Joel and Ash are actually friends… Just bear with me for just a few minutes while I completely hypothesize and speculate on what could be...
Let's go back to March of this year. Winter Music Conference is in full swing, the Avicii Hotel is attaining marketing Nirvana, and South Beach is hotter than usual with anticipation for Ultra Music Festival.
Wait… uh-oh, Avicii got sick. Like hospital sick, bro. Miami… we have a problem.
Now imagine Ash standing there in the hospital waiting room, asking the doctor, “But, Doc… can he DJ on Saturday?”
And the doctor says “Um, that’s a negative Ghostrider. Gall bladder is full.”
At this point Ash is thinking “Hmm… call Calvin Harris to see if he can fill in? Shit, he's on a plane to Malaysia... Try Steve Aoki- nope. he's busy shooting an infomercial. Um… Long shot, but I’m going to call Joel.”
"Joel? Hi Ash Pournouri here. Got a sec?"
"For you, Ash? I got five."
"Cool. I'm sure you heard about Tim by now. And I was wondering..."
"Ya, I heard. Fuck man... Is he going to be OK?"
"Yes, yes, He'll be fine... just a little gall bladder thing. He'll be on the beach with his lady come Monday. But the reason why I'm calling is - I was wondering if maybe you could fill in for him this Saturday at Ultra?"
"Oh. Wow…. I don't know, Ash. I'm really not trying to do that festival thing anymore and you know, Miami isn't my favorite city. Plus, I need to get back and feed Meowingtons... it's just a really bad time."
"Joel, I'm in pinch here. I tried Calvin and Steve. They are both a no-go. After you, I'm kinda’ out of options and it’s all falling on me since Tim is the one that pulled out. I tell you what, I'll get you $800K, minus my 25%. That’s like three Bon Jovi songs bro..."
"Um... I don't know... It's not really the money, just when I get home I've got to wrap up my new album and get a marketing plan for it… and I’m already way behind. I just really ca-"
“Joel, I tell you what. You do this for us, and you can take some pot shots at Team Avicii on twitter to help push the new album. Waddya’ say?”
“Fuck… wow… Ok, that might work. Fuck it, I’m in.”
“Great! Thank you so much, bro! Really appreciate this man. I’ll have Ultra holler at 360.”
“No problem man, tell Tim get well soon.”
“Cool, will do! Oh Joel, one last thing… would you mind filling in for him in Vegas too?”
Cut to the while (1<2) marketing team a couple months later and they’ve got to come up with a strategy to get the word out. First, they have to think about the deadmau5 brand. Aside from his music, the deadmau5 brand is known for his Purrari, his cat, and his social media battles.
Keep in mind the label has a budget to market in the usual channels (iTunes, print ads, social media whatever)- they will handle that. But how do you get the blogosphere to go crazy covering deadmau5 in a way that is brand aligned? That’s right, a Twitter war.
What better war than good versus evil- Team Avicii versus the dark lone ranger, deadmau5. It is the mainstream prince of EDM versus the independent musician who throws his label, and seemingly everyone else, under the bus at any given point. Golden Boy versus the King of Trolls- this is getting better than Game Of Thrones.
The yin and yang; day versus night- It’s a story we’ll see played out in movie theaters all summer long. Hell, it’s a story we’ve seen all our lives. And we love it- yes even you. If you didn’t, you probably wouldn’t be reading this post and thousands wouldn’t click the headline that starts with “deadmau5 Went On Twitter Today And …” Don’t you just want to know?
Let’s layout this marketing schedule, err I mean chronology of events. deadmau5 fills in for Avicii at Ultra and at XS in Las Vegas. A month later, news of the album is starting to break, taking us into May. Songs start to roll out at a rate of one per week. Then deadmau5 goes on the Gumball 3000, where he Instagrams a photo of him getting pulled over by the cops. The night before, he was re-tweeting photos of him hugging David Hasselhoff (who was in the Chainsmokers’ #Selfie video too- just saying). And as soon as that’s done, just five days before the album’s release, Joel has an interview published in the Evening Standard. And while all of this is going on, he takes the time to lurk Avicii’s manager on Twitter.
Yup, lurking, totally. That’s what Joel would have to be doing to find Ash’s tweet from three weeks ago. I think both deadmau5 and Pournouri are both way too busy to scroll through "internet ancient" tweets. At least I hope they are.
Hypothesis’ and speculations- that’s all I got here. Just a bunch of loosely connected dots that would easily fall apart if one were to fall out of place. If I’m even remotely close to what really is going on, I’ll easily concede that this is a very simplistic sketch of the realities of the music business in 2014. There are teams of people working on both sides - maybe the mau5 and Avicii have no idea what’s happening (kind of like that Now That’s What I Call EDM fiasco earlier in the year). Maybe Ash wasn’t a part of this plan at all, and this was just a well-executed troll by the master himself.
But bottom line, let’s not forget, Twitter beefs like these get your name in the papers.
Or at least on LessThanDancingMagneticMixEDMRoadsDJ.com.
deadmau5' new album, while (1<2) is out today and available for purchase on iTunes.