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Monster Market Maker
Whatever became of Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, the aspiring, piano-playing pop singer with that name who dropped out of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts? More than her classmates could have imagined. With unmatched audacity, an unflinching focus on business, and an unbridled gift for self-promotion, she transformed herself into Lady Gaga, performance artist extraordinaire who is raising the bar for what it takes to make it in today’s celebrity-driven digital age.
To Lady Gaga, music is as much about visual image as it is about sound. Her performances are larger than life as she wears a dress made of raw meat, a spiked black hood, or the golden armor of an Egyptian goddess. She stunned the jaded Grammy Awards audience in 2011 as she was carried onstage, Cleopatra-style, inside a semitransparent egg by an entourage of men in golden outfits. Similarly, her fans were awestruck when she ascended to the ceiling of New York’s Radio City Music Hall in a giant orb of rotating silver rings. Her unique style catapulted her second album, Born This Way, into a million-plus seller within days of its release.
Lady Gaga cultivates her fan base through sophisticated social networking. She was the first Twitter user to have 10 million followers and has more than 41 million Facebook fans. She appeared in ads on Google Chrome, started her own game on FarmVille, and embraced Tumblr, a microblogging platform that spotlights her lyrics and eccentric fashions. Forbes magazine recognized Lady Gaga as a global marketing phenomenon when they placed her at the top of its 2011 Celebrity 100 list.
Lady Gaga has spawned thousands of imitators, a compliment to be sure. And she is the subject of a course at the University of South Carolina at Columbia, where students will use Lady Gaga, Inc. as a case study of what it takes to be famous in today’s culture.
Alice Guy Blache: Nellie Bly: Louise Bourgeois: Margaret Bourke-White: Gwendolyn Brooks: Rita Dove: Lorraine Hansberry: Sherry Lansing: Ellen Manderfield: Leontyne Price: Beverly Sills: Anna Edson Taylor: Camilla Williams: