Billboard's Editorial Director Bill Werde had big issues with Gaga's efforts to increase Vevo views of her new single, "Applause," by encouraging fans to essentially leave the clip running through a process called "playlisting."
Gaga tweeted out a link yesterday - since deleted - that would allow fans to watch the video 150 times in a row. Since views feed into the Billboard rankings, this would affect the single's chart position, no matter whether a human being was sitting there watching the clip or leaving it to play on a loop while she went to work. Werde had enough, and hit Twitter himself to say that this kind of mercenary practice just wasn't okay with him:
An artist tweeting out and Facebooking a link that enables a fan to hit play and leave their computer is not in the spirit of what we chart. - Bill Werde (@bwerde) August 21, 2013
Gaga already had her Little Monsters pumped to buy "Applause" earlier in the month, kicking off a contest that will reward one multiple purchaser who displays his devotion on social media with an "international" trip to see her on tour.
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I can only imagine what the most creative monsters will tweet in order to be first in line for this competition. Many of them were displeased with Werde's Twitter lecture last night, and responded to him, says Werde, with "threats and profanity."
The question still remains: How many times could you watch "Applause?" And is it okay for Lady Gaga to ask you to leave it on, even if you're not watching it, in order to increase her pageviews? Besides that, is it a magazine editor's place to chastise a performer for trying to gain support from fans by any means available?
The ethics of repeated views of a video are up for discussion, just like the question of multiple votes from different computers in online contests. Maybe a rabid Little Monster would want to show her devotion by watching a video at Gaga's request many (many!) times. It's difficult to keep track of consumption in an industry and a media landscape that's changing daily. Gaga deleting the tweet says she thought better of the request, at least enough to retract it. It's also unlikely that she's making decisions like this entirely on her own, and it may have been a case of digital strategy backfiring - and backpedaling, quickly.
I'm more concerned with asking fans to purchase multiple copies of the same song that they clearly only have the same two ears to listen to, so many devices to listen to it on, and so many people to give it to. But it could also be said that all's fair in capitalism, and it's up to the fan base to vote - or not - with their mp3 buying fingers.
No public responses from Gaga remain on Twitter, except, perhaps, this message from earlier today:gaga
And after all of that, "Blurred Lines" is still number one, with Katy Perry at number two this week with "Roar." "Applause"? Number three, with a hashtag.
-By Laurie White
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