Rock Star Marketing: M.I.A. Flips the Bird, Tenacious D Rizes, Flaming Lips Sing with Siri

Tenacious-d-rize-of-the-fenix-soundcloud-playerM.I.A.'s recent 5 second assault on the sensibility of America reminds us that no one can market music like a rock star. As overblown as the Super Bowl middle finger coverage has been, it's just one recent example of interesting marketing efforts from notable musicians including Tenacious D, who teased his upcoming album with a SoundCloud-powered splash page, and The Flaming Lips, who featured vocals by Siri in a recently released track.

M.I.A. – The Shot Heard Round the World

Recently America held a very special event, The Super Bowl, featuring Madonna with a bunch of acts that are cooler than she is. And, though Madonna got a positive boost, she was clearly overshadowed by M.I.A. thrusting her middle finger in the air with the potency of a "terrorist fist jab" while rapping the word "shit."

At least, that's what I got from one or two brief clips I saw online and the headlines and initial sentences in such august media outlets as The New Yorker, Advertising Age and NPR.

There's actually not that much to be learned here other than the fact that when a rock star makes an unexpected and potentially upsetting move while live on national tv, like Kanye West dissing Bush during an MTV fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Katrina, it lasts much longer than memories of the show at which it happens or any number of candid YouTube videos.

Tenacious D x SoundCloud – Rize of the Fenix

Tenacious D, the comedic music team of Jack Black and Kyle Gass, recently teased their upcoming album, "Rize of the Fenix", with a clip from the title track at

The current splash page features a custom SoundCloud player created by Lee Martin who has done a variety of such projects for SoundCloud in his role in "Experimental Development." Lee shares the process of creating the Tenacious D teaser on SoundCloud's API Blog.

The Flaming Lips f/Siri – Now I Understand

Though not a SoundCloud project, The Flaming Lips recently released a song featuring vocals by the iPhone's talkative digital assistant Siri via SoundCloud. The Lips' Wayne Coyne posted this statement:

"Sound construction piece featuring Lips, Erykah Badu, Siri, and Biz Markie backwards. It's called "Now I Understand"…Life is beautiful. Music gets you high."

The use of Siri, the notes on SoundCloud and the overall trippy vibe of the track suits The Flaming Lips well. In addition to over 100,000 plays, "Now I Understand" has also received press coverage on such sites as PSFK (trends), TUAW (tech/Apple), Stereogum (music) and The Washington Post (mainstream media).

More on The Flaming Lips:
The Flaming Lips Embed Music in Gummy Skulls, Human Skulls & Wayne Coyne's Skull
Grab Your Flaming Lips Fetus Christmas Ornament

Hypebot Features Writer Clyde Smith maintains his freelance writing hub at Flux Research and music industry resources at Music Biz Blogs. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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