Kris Wu will benefit from bad publicity
Published: Nov 12, 2018 05:28 PM

Illustration: Peter C. Espina/GT

You must be living under a rock if you haven't heard about the Ariana Grande versus Kris Wu iTunes saga, where last week Wu beat both Grande and Lady Gaga for seven of the top-10 spots on the US iTunes charts. Ariana's fans claimed foul play while Wu's fans insisted there was no artificial manipulation used to purchase the reported 14 million song downloads within 24 hours. Regardless of who is right, Kris Wu was written about in the Washington Post Friday morning, and that is a press win!

Do you know how hard it is to get mentioned in one of America's biggest newspapers? Imagine I was a manager who represented Kris Wu and, two weeks ago I called the Washington Post and told them he was releasing an amazing new album that I would like them to write about for publicity. Two weeks ago, their response would've been: Kris Who?

But today he is a topic of discussion not only in the national music industry, but also in international newspapers. The press train has started, putting a formerly unknown Chinese star front and center in America's news rooms. Over the next few weeks, you'll be seeing Kris Wu on talk shows, giving interviews and - most importantly - getting free publicity to promote his new album! This is a win!

Why you ask? Because the American public has a short memory. Soon enough, the iTunes scandal will be forgotten and what will be left? Hundreds of thousands of new fans who never knew who Kris Wu was before last week. What else? Access to the music industry's gold-mine: the coveted US market, where just a mere four days prior, Wu, a Chinese-Canadian, had limited market presence and was arguably irrelevant.

What did the iTunes scandal do for Kris Wu's American music career? It made him relevant, which isn't easy to do with music alone, even if you are the world's most talented artist. So how do Kris Wu's Chinese fans feel about this controversy? In a land where face and reputation are of the utmost importance, it's safe to say scandals wouldn't boost someone's career in China as they tend to do in the United States of Scandal.

Take Fan Bingbing for instance. Her recent scandal sent shockwaves throughout the Middle Kingdom, and I can't say it helped her reputation (or her bank account for that matter) here. On the flip side, in the US you have people like Kim Kardashian who soared to fame after her widely publicized sex tape was leaked. Fast forward a decade later and no one cares about the tape, but she now owns a cosmetics empire worth $350 million dollars and is married to the most popular rap star in the world.

In America we have a saying: "there's no such thing as bad publicity." Because in show business, maintaining a good reputation isn't as important as maintaining relevancy. As long as people are talking about you  - whether it is good or bad - you remain relevant to the discussion! And for people like Kardashian, who have amassed over 120 million Instagram followers, the countless offers that come pouring in are well worth the scandal

So, yes, you can bet Kris Wu's international music career will take off exponentially.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.