The Psychology of Selling Rock and Roll

Regular contributor Juliette Jagger has just relaunched her website.  The first postings include an interview with singer Lindi Ortega and this article on an upcoming anniversary version of Nirvana’s In Utero.

Earlier this month a memo preempting a detailed plan for the upcoming 20th Anniversary “re-mastered” re-release of Nirvana’s In Utero album was leaked onto the Internet. First appearing on, the anonymous memo outlined a two-point marketing scheme built around touting In Utero as Nirvana’s best album, and most importantly reinforcing the tragedy that was Kurt Cobain.

I’ve gotta say, I love that this memo came out into the open regardless of how it got there because it’s both a great look at the psychology behind selling rock and roll, and it also totally reveals that our perceptions about the roles that popular music blogs such as Pitchfork play within the online music community, are completely and utterly skewed.

There is a major difference between rock and roll as an entity and the business of selling it, that’s why it’s so lucrative. Rock and roll itself is about raw emotion and dripping sweat, selling rock and roll is not unlike selling laundry detergent. Now, that’s a hard pill to swallow, and when this thing first went viral so many people couldn’t believe how ruthless it was that they thought it must be a hoax, but that’s the art of marketing for you. People get paid big bucks to reduce other human beings to a series of adjectives; “Reluctant star. Pressure. Compromise. Depression. Heroin, Death.”

Continue reading here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “The Psychology of Selling Rock and Roll

  • January 22, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    There will always be rock 'n' roll bands, even making a dent in the mainstream. The problem is that the lowest common denominator always rises to the top.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.