Lady Gaga’s Artpop album sank because it didn’t make a statement


Lady Gaga failed to deliver awe

Why did Lady Gaga’s ‘Artpop’ album sales fall 75% from 2011 despite a massive marketing push by Interscope records?

When I first heard ‘Applause’ I was quite excited. It had a great rhythm to it, it had the energy, and it certainly had the potential to make the album sell big but it was missing something. It didn’t have that surreal quality. It didn’t have her personal ‘craziness’ embedded in it. It was lacking the mystery of ‘Poker Face’, the strength of ‘Bad Romance’ and the progression of ‘Alejandro’. So after listening to it a few times, I realised, that, it wasn’t a change.

What compounded that was the disappointment I had in the visual element of ‘Applause’. I was unimpressed by the music video when it was released over summer. It didn’t convey a new visual artistry, a new side of Gaga. It repeated old themes, but with a lack of style, and it really dented that special quality I was looking for, so as a Gaga fan, I shrugged my shoulders, it wasn’t special.

You can compare:

Applause music video

Born This Way music video

See the difference in style?

Then after the music video release in August we got sidetracked by Miley Cyrus again, who dominated discussions in the music industry ever since she did that twerking on the VMAs. It continued for months, and new stories, and new arguments kept coming out. That drowned some of the Gaga momentum. Beforehand, she was the most controversial, the most crazy. We were talking about her 24/7 and we were anticipating her new videos, her new images, but some of that energy was lost this time round. There was fatigue and a lack of excitement.

‘Artpop’ for me didn’t make a statement. It didn’t bring out another mystery. Gaga is after all, a maturing artist (in the eyes of the industry). Being able to stay relevant, yet re-invent herself is no easy task. Madonna and Michael Jackson had their pitfalls. Marketing Gaga as well, in such a competitive and difficult market, again, isn’t easy.

There were many factors that led to the disappointing sales, but from my perspective, the fact that her image was not in discussion enough, that she wasn’t making people talk about something new, dragged on the success of ‘Artpop’ as an entity. It was more of a transient release. I kind of “Oh, there’s another Gaga album.”.

Gaga’s image was created on shock value, and awe. She made world headlines for her outrageous appearances. Her music was also defined by her personality, but this time round, it was a re-hashed format of her former self. We didn’t get a new Gaga this time round and that’s why it failed to sell.