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  • Banning the x-rated version from YouTube only served to increase its popularity
  • Banning the x-rated version from YouTube only served to increase its popularity
    Robin Thicke (2013) ©
CASE STUDY

Spreadable media: why everyone's talking about Blurred Lines

Sex sells – and so does controversy. But with a new focus on audience involvement, musicians and film-makers alike are handing their incendiary wares over for dissection and regurgitation.

Location United States

Scope
Sex sells – and so does controversy. But while musicians have often combined both with catchy melodies for a timeless commercial clout, a new wave of releases is aiming for real audience engagement. This year, R&B artist Robin Thicke saw his previously steady middle-of-the-road career enjoy a enormous, international boost with the release of his single Blurred Lines – a testament to the powers of provocation.

Featuring scantily-clad models in compromising positions and incendiary lyrics, the song has been lambasted on social media for being “generally an orgy of female objectification” – but that hasn't stopped it reaching ...

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