Thursday, June 13, 2013

Can a performer tell a publication which photos to use in an article?

Operatic mezzo Cecelia Bartoli did so with a German publication that was reviewing a concert she'd given. I read about it here. I posted this comment:
It's not Bartoli's management. They just work for her. It's Bartoli herself. And it's evident that she suffers from situational narcissism, a psychological problem that afflicts people in positions of power--in the performing arts, in business, in the military, in politics--who surround themselves with Yes Men, such that no one around them dares to contradict him/her, who hence come to feel that his/her whims should be others' marching orders.

Of course in a free country Bartoli is free to demand whatever she pleases. And others are equally free to accede to those demands or refuse them.

But look at it from the other side. A publication can only continue to exist if it has a reader base who use and trust it. When a publication becomes a shill for its advertisers and/or the people its articles are about, readers cease to trust it, and will then turn to a competing publication that keeps its bargain with its readers to put their interests first. Why should I read a publication that doesn't serve me?

Bartoli demanded that this publication choose between her and its readers, though I doubt she realizes this.

The only way Bartoli could make such demands stick would be if she started her own publication, as Oprah Winfrey did, and applied her ideas of journalism to it. Then we'd see how it does in the free market.

If Bartoli were really smart about cultivating her fan base, she'd do what soprano Jackie Evancho's parents do, putting out Keeks (the visual equivalent of Twitters) of her kicking back before concerts, signing autographs, looking a starfish--candid-looking stuff that humanizes the artist and cultivates a feeling of connection with her.

Evancho isn't sacrificing a bit of privacy, since her people only put out the Keeks they choose to. Yet they make fans feel loved. Instead of fans looking at this news item in question and thinking "So Bartoli's another diva. Talented, but a diva." And then they feel less connection with her. If you want to act like that you'd better be the best in the world at what you do--and have that be acknowledged by everyone else.

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