Like so many female pop stars these days, Gaga plays off her sexuality to hype her career.
As the argument goes, it’s all about female empowerment.
But she got on the wrong side of the issue when the leaked video revealed that R. Kelly and photographer Terry Richardson were featured.
Both men have been accused of sexual assault and sexual exploitation of women and Gaga’s “Do What U Want” music video seemed to glorify their actions, or at least make light of them.
At one point in the graphic clip Gaga appeared to be raped by Kelly.
Her management team is reportedly concerned that Gaga’s antics are overshadowing her music, and ultimately, hurting sales and alienating fans, according to a source.
Gaga previously acknowledged that the video’s delay was over issues with her management.
Gaga got a hard lesson in the music industry’s fickleness last year after she was sidelined by a hip injury. Out of sight, out of mind, her career was quickly eclipsed, but not her profligate lifestyle or spending.
With music sales in the tank and continuing to erode–digital downloads fell for the first time this year–little margin for error exists in the business these days, according to sources.
Artists like Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, Ellie Goulding, Lorde, Iggy Azalea and Ke$ha moved in on her pop music demographic, already hemmed in by established acts like Rihanna and Beyonce.
Nowhere was that more evident than at the MTV Music Video Awards last August. Gaga’s performance was almost an afterthought compared to Cyrus’s over-the-top performance and other acts.
Her fourth studio album debuted in November fronted by a huge and expensive production team that included DJ White Shadow, Madeon, Rick Rubin, Zedd and The Black-Eyed Peas’ will.i.am .
The album was also oversold. Initial forecasts called for first week sales of 300,000 to 350,000 copies. It debuted at No. 1 on the charts but sales stalled at 258,000 copies. Radio mostly ignored it.
Critical reviews and word-of-mouth took their toll. Sales dropped 86 percent the next week. Although still the fourth best release for a female artist on the year, the album was declared, a “flop.”
Since then, Gaga hasn’t toned down her off-stage antics. The question is how many more negative episodes can she withstand before she marginalizes herself into extinction?
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