Editor’s Note: I am pleased to announce that this week’s fake news story was written by none other than Derek Hudgin formerly of Country Perspective! I am happy (and honored) to have a piece by him featured here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
NASHVILLE, TN – Chaos broke out at the headquarters of Country Pop!, a top country music news outlet, when a senior writer gave a negative review to Travis Duke’s debut single.
Duke, the newest artist added to Sony’s roster, was looking to send “Sway” to radio next Friday.
“We were relying on the press to help excite fans for country’s next dance craze,” said a Sony spokesman. “In five years of feeding Country Pop! countless song debuts and access to artists, we never expected something like this to happen. After the song’s release, we had two strong follow up pieces ready. One was about Duke’s relationship with his late grandfather, who taught him how to play guitar. The other detailed the summer Duke spent working at the catering company for the artists who performed at his hometown amphitheater. It was a really touching story of hope and perseverance.”
“I’m devastated.” said a solemn Duke. “There were like 15 guys who wrote and produced this track to get it perfect. We thought this was going to be the biggest single since “Cruise.” Honestly. We had plans to get a remix recorded with The Weeknd. I’d hate to see all that hard work go to waste.”
J.R. Johnson, Duke’s producer added, “We spent an hour perfecting his delivery of the hook, ‘S.W.A.Y. Girl, your hips’ sway makes a country boy cry.’”
The Country Pop! writer in question declined to comment on the situation, only issuing a statement of apology to his coworkers, Travis Duke, and Sony for his carelessness.
“We’ll discuss internally how we want to proceed after this ordeal,” said the Sony spokesperson. Country Pop! informs public opinion more than anyone in the industry. A negative perspective from them is damaging.”
Country Pop! Editor-in-Chief Randy Stone further apologized to Sony. “We’ve developed a strong partnership with the label over the years. We can only go so far with pop-up Yeti ads and our Ford Explorer new artist of the week feature. We rely on Sony’s contribution to help keep us afloat, and all that’s asked of us is to feature their artists to get our readers excited about the music.”
“In our staff meeting every Monday, I stress the importance of writing what the labels want us to write,” said a visibly frustrated Stone. “The labels provide us with PR they want, and we publish it. It’s simple. We have a motto around the office: ‘Forget Feelings.’ I don’t care if you love or hate the song, you publish what the label requests.”
Travis Duke remains optimistic. “They say any press is good press, so hopefully this doesn’t hurt “Sway” too much. I really think I can prove people wrong. Sure, “Sway” may sound like Michael Jackson, but I have some ballads on my E.P. that will remind people of Willie Nelson.”
As for the Country Pop! writer, Stone disclosed the details of his demotion. “Fashion Duty,” he said. “Once this writer can persuade our readers that Sony’s newest female’s brown dress with green frilly shoulder pads was a great choice that didn’t make her look like a tree, then we’ll discuss his reinstatement to the senior writing team. Until then, look for his list of country artists’ childhood Easter pictures. Here’s a preview: at 7 years old, Travis Duke had a bunny costume!”