In February an anonymous dance-pop singer-producer released an Outkast mash up titled "Moves Like Miss Jackson" creating a buzz amongst dance music blogs and the electronic music scene. Soon after the mysterious producer released music under SomeoneHad2DoIt on SoundCloud. You can listen to the track below via Soundcloud and read comments from fans of the track with their suspicions of ZHU's true identity.
Steven Zhu, who goes by his stage name Zhu, has been working with Jake Udell from indie label Mind of a Genius, to cleverly market Zhu's music to the masses in a new way focusing on the music being produced rather than the musician behind the work. Udell says, "we market to enable discovery... ZHU is more focused on connecting with fans in more meaningful ways." This shows how, at least in the music industry, gaining traction by consumers often means creating a brand or content that users can be curious about. By teasing music lovers with content but not giving them everything can generate more interest, compared to giving users everything they want to know because where's the fun in that?
Pete Tong of BBC Radio One said, "I happen to think he [ZHU] has a fantastic name, an amazing logo and in this game, branding becomes very important." ZHU's logo act as consistent imagery for people to recognize his musical vision despite if they know his actual name or not. After releasing "Moves Like Miss Jackson" February 9, 2014, Zhu subsequently released Superfriends February 17 and his hot single Faded March 10. Following several months of consistent track releases, he debuted his "Nightday" EP on April 20.
After reading and learning about ZHU, who is said to be Steven Zhu, it's interesting to see how online marketing works especially with the rise of fashion bloggers, YouTube discoveries and music artists. A strategic marketing plan, consistent branding and providing people with great, unique content, seems to be some key elements for artists on the rise to establish a presence and online fan base. The Internet has made it both difficult and accessible for an every day person to have a breakthrough in their career. On one side it gives everyone the chance to create their own platform to put their content out there and get discovered by someone. In contrast, this dilutes the Internet with countless up-and-comers with their own content which also makes it difficult to be discovered.