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September 24, 2010

Using the legal system for cheap press

Filed under: General,Music Rant,Political Rant — Tags: , , , , , — Bryan @ 5:59 am

Some of you may have last year about Cat Stevens (now known as Yusuf Islam after his conversion to Islam) throwing out to the press the idea that he might consider suing Coldplay over a suggested infringement of his song Foreigner Suite via their chart topping song Viva La Vida. His song is a 30 year old track that likely nobody under 20 has ever heard of.

I’ve listened to both songs. Ah… yeah. Whatever. Keep dreaming the dream.

Anyways what got me was the transparently lame marketing ploy that this was. Yusuf is a washed up 70’s rock star looking for a fresh 15 minutes of fame in the U.S. while he tours his new album. He did one of those brilliant Prince like moves several years ago when he converted to Islam and changed his name to something nobody can remember or would even associate with his music. Hey I’m all for religious freedom. He seems happy with his life and I could really care less about his personal beliefs. From a marketing stand point this wasn’t the best move unless he was going to ditch his legacy work and start with a clean slate.

But that’s not what he did, so his P.R team has had a nightmare of trying to expose his non-core fans to the brand change with his name so they get as many baby boomers out to his tour dates as possible. They also need to hopefully scratch out a few new fans for his new work in the process (of course he’s been trying to get new fans for years and hasn’t gotten much traction, hence the need to dig up boomers for ticket sales). Yusuf is alot like Jimmy Buffet in this regard. Yawn.

Anyways, his P.R. team has went so far as too play the 9/11 sympathy card in going on about how his name was mistakenly on the DHS terrorist watch list preventing him from flying into the U.S. for several years. That alone got him a day or two of front page news when he flew in to start his tour.

This then got me thinking about how a lot of people sue other people simply for the press coverage. Front page brand exposure is expensive! But front page exposure where the news is talking about your frivolous lawsuit is free. Personally I think the whole practice is unethical and a waste of public resources but there are clearly people out there without ethics or an appreciation for the fact that our court system has real work to do. This activity is the basis of why so many companies quickly pay out on settlements fast before the story can make it into the news cycle.

People! Isn’t there a better way to handle all of this?

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