As the Republican National Convention came to a close on Thursday night, thousands of balloons fell from the ceiling, and Heart's song Barracuda began to fill the arena. The song was a nod to a nickname that VP candidate Sarah Palin earned earlier in her political career.
But Heart was NOT amused, and Universal Music Publishing along with Sony BMG quickly fired off a 'cease and desist' letter to Republicans, over their use of the song to end the RNC.
Now, assuming that the Wilson sisters are Obama supporters (or simply don't like McCain and/or Palin), I can understand why they wouldn't be thrilled with the RNC using their song. But thanks to the RNC, a completely new generation of music fans are likely 'discovering' the song, and Heart's music as well. Why would the band want to kill buzz that's literally fell into their lap?
First, the Wilson sisters should have THANKED the McCain campaign for being fans of their song, and promoting their music. Because that's exactly what just happened.
Second, since they do now have a lot of sudden interest in their music, how can they use this interest as a tool to leverage support for Obama (again, asssuming they are Obama supporters)? This is a lesson that 'big label' music has always struggled with, but you don't attempt to control how your fans purchase your music, you accept their behavior, and make it as EASY as possible to engage in their current activities. Right now people are buying Heart's music, so we need to ENCOURAGE that activity, not stifle it.
Third, announce that while the Repubs might like the song Barracuda for McCain/Palin, that Heart thinks of Obama as more of a 'Magic Man', an obvious nod to their hit of the same name.
And here's the kicker: Heart should set up a contest on their website between Republicans and Democrats. Offer both singles, Barracuda (Republicans) and Magic Man (Democrats) for sale on the site. Add that a set amount of proceeds will go to charity. Add a ticker that shows which side Repubs or Dems are selling more songs, and thus 'winning'.
Now if Heart was REALLY smart, they would be engaged in social media and have buttons available that could let fans show their support for either McCain/Palin (Barracuda) or Obama/Biden (Magic Man). These buttons could be added to their blogs or other social profiles, and link back to Heart's site where they could purchase the song of their choice.
End result for Heart? Sales of both songs go through the roof. The band is exposed to a completely new generation of fans. A lot of money is raised for charity, which further benefits the band in the form of even more buzz.
Or maybe the band should issue a C&D and attempt to kill the first meaningful buzz Heart has had in 2 decades.
BONUS: Ike comes up with the perfect name for this promotion: I HEART DEMOCRACY! Gold.
Pic via HeartTribute