In a shining example of luck meets spontaneous marketing, Shutterstock, the burgeoning stock photo brand, snatched Lady Gaga’s wig on Twitter earlier this week. Her legion of fans was having none of it though, and things escalated rather quickly.
The unexpected exchange happened after Gaga’s new single, “Stupid Love,” was leaked (allegedly), and shortly after that, fans took to Twitter to celebrate and boast, having gained access to the unreleased track. A barrage of memes happened within minutes, with one of the more comical depictions showing a person in a full-face ski mask, dancing in celebration, wearing headphones with the following caption:
Seemingly annoyed by the illegal piracy and distribution of her unreleased music, Gaga responded by re-tweeting out the image to her 80 million + followers along with the request: “can y’all stop.”
Shutterstock didn’t miss a beat and jumped on the opportunity with a semi-joking, well-played response to Gaga that cleverly highlighted the very premise of illegal distribution that the mega pop star was protesting:
“@ladygaga We hear you! We like artists to be paid for their work too. Here’s a link to the photographer’s work where you can license these quality images,”
.@ladygaga We hear you! We like artists to be paid for their work too. Here's a link to the photographer's work where you can license these quality images: https://t.co/F37wsUBre8 and https://t.co/lljeK1HgkB 😉
— Shutterstock (@Shutterstock) January 23, 2020
Ha! Yes, it was a wise maneuver — kudos to the quick mind(s) over at Shutterstock for fast thinking and exploiting the irony of the situation. Gaga’s “little monsters,” however, didn’t find it so cute, and they were not amused by their queen being shaded on twitter. They lashed out against Shutterstock in her defense. One fan declared, “Lady Gaga can do whatever she wants!” Actually, when it comes to copyright infringement of other people’s intellectual property – no, she can’t.
It was clearly all intended to be light-hearted, but fans can be rabidly protective of their music idols and many are now threatening a boycott. Hopefully, the dust-up will dissipate soon, and Shutterstock can return to competing with its true nemesis – Getty Images.
In a funny twist, though, Queerty, who initially reported the story, licensed all the images and included them in its coverage. In the end, with all the free publicity and social media entanglement with one of the biggest pop stars in the world, the real winner here appears to be Shutterstock.
There’s a win for Gaga too though. Suddenly after writing this article, I felt the urge to download her hit song, Paparazzi. Coincidence?