A publicity stunt is all fun and games until somebody gets sued.
For the past week, Drake and 21 Savage have been on a media blitz to promote their new album Her Loss, which debuted Friday. The stars appeared on the cover of an issue of Vogue magazine, performed on Saturday Night Live, teased an appearance on NPR’s Tiny Desk and sat for an interview on The Howard Stern Show.
Just one problem: All of those appearances were fake. The Vogue covers were photoshopped onto fake issues distributed around the country (Jennifer Lawrence was on the real October issue); the SNL performance was a spoof, with a high-profile assist from Michael B. Jordan as the fake “host”; NPR quickly confirmed the Tiny Desk show wasn’t happening; and the Stern appearance was an elaborate deepfake.
The whole thing appears to be a publicity stunt, carried out by an artist who doesn’t really need to do promo for his album releases and hasn’t done so in recent years — but would be eagerly invited to actually appear on those outlets if he wanted to go that route.
Case in point: NPR used the stunt as an opportunity to tell the star he was “welcome anytime” on the beloved concert series: “Let’s do it forreal tho.” And Stern laughed the whole thing off, jokingly quipping about the convincing deepfake version of himself: “Whenever I have to visit my mother, I wish I could do this.” No word from SNL, but a show famous for parody is unlikely to be offended.
The same cannot be said for Vogue publisher Condé Nast, which filed a lawsuit against Drake and 21 in New York federal court this week that called the stunt a “flagrant infringement” of the company’s trademark rights, aimed at exploiting the “tremendous value that a cover feature in Vogue magazine carries” without actually securing that honor.
The publisher seemed particularly miffed by Drake’s Instagram post teasing the fake cover story, in which he personally thanked famed Vogue editor Anna Wintour. The infamous magazine editor “had no involvement” with Drake’s album and has “not endorsed it in any way,” Condé’s lawyers wrote.
If the case doesn’t immediately settle with Drake pulling down the images (a strong possibility in any trademark case) Condé’s lawsuit could lead to an interesting debate over parody. Is Drake’s stunt a commentary on the way media outlets like Vogue or SNL (or Billboard, for that matter) team up with celebrities to help them promote their latest offerings? Or is he just exploiting their names to pump sales of his album without actually doing the hard work of a press tour?
A year on from the deadly disaster at Travis Scott‘s Astroworld festival, Billboard took a deep dive into the status of the sprawling lawsuit that’s been filed by victims.
More than 4,900 legal claims have been filed against Live Nation, Scott and other festival organizers, accusing them of being legally negligent in how they planned and conducted the event. Combined, the cases are seeking billions in damages over the disaster.
With no quick ending in sight, we asked some of the country’s top experts in such cases: Where do things stand? What comes next? And how will it all end? Read the whole thing here.
Disclaimer: This story is generated from RSS Feed and has not been created or edited by Waba News. Publisher: Billboard