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Amplified Observations

Amplified Observations: Marketing might be best when employing the element of surprise

Amplified Observations takes a look at what it would be like if other things were released in the style of mixtapes

Unless you don’t care about hip-hop or feelings, you probably know that Drake dropped his latest mixtape last Friday, just in time for sports management majors to bump it at their weekend house parties.

In accordance with the now-common practice, Drake released the 17-song tape as a surprise to fans of both hip-hop and Degrassi alike. In recent years, many hip-hop artists have released mixtapes with little or no build-up, including Wiz Khalifa’s 28 Grams, Lil’ Wayne’s Sorry 4 the Wait 2, Mac Miller’s Delusional Thomas and many others (not to mention, Beyonce’s self-titled album).

So, if this strategy is so successful with mixtapes, why aren’t other things released in the same fashion?

If something comes out of absolutely nowhere, people feel left out of the pop culture loop and, therefore, research the thing on their own, which basically amounts to free publicity.

Who needs a PR spokesperson to build a campaign when you have the Internet and impulse?

I bet Intuit would sell a lot more copies of TurboTax if they dropped a new edition March 29 without any prior announcement. People would be asking their friends, “Hey Chet, did you cop that new TurboTax? Imma finna download it, but I can’t find it on DatPiff.”

It’s a far better marketing strategy than trying to build hype on TV spots and online banner ads.

And would Tom Petty’s latest album Hypnotic Eye, which came out last July, have been so overlooked by the mainstream if it didn’t have a finite release date? You know you would have checked out that new heartland rock if a link for it emerged out of the nowhereness of the Twittersphere.

Maybe Petty could have teased the release a bit with some semi-vague tweets like “ayy, bouta drop some fire tonight!! Don’t be sleepin’ on it.”

Although most companies and individuals still use the traditional method for releases, one software has already adopted the mixtape business model and is ahead of the curve: Adobe Flash Player. How many times have you opened your laptop to find an update to Adobe Flash Player pop up? Each time it happens, I think to myself, “Alright fam, I feel you hitting me up with that new shit. Let me install that fresh plug-in.”

Hopefully, more things will be released in the style of mixtapes. Not only will it help with sales, but it will offer consumers the instant gratification for something they didn’t expect.

Luke Furman is a freshman studying journalism. Email him at or find him on Twitter at @LukeFurmanOU.

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