Lana Del Rey’s Image Is More Compelling Than Her Sound

In a February review of Lana Del Rey’s mixed bag debut LP, Born to Die, I postulated that her image was more compelling than her sound. Three months later, I’m surprised how true this statement turned out to be. On a hunch, I wanted to see how many people came to Luddite Stereo in search of a picture of Lana Del Rey (I had posted three of them in the review). Just by perusing my site’s daily traffic, I had a feeling the number might be quite high.

As it turns out, WordPress’ statistics engine leaves much to be desired; I can’t explicitly find out how many times someone searched for an image of Lana Del Rey. But I can come close. By examining the number of Google Image searches that hit my site, I’m able to see how many people came to my site by looking for an image since I wrote the review. I can also tell, with some digging around, how many times someone used a search term related to Lana Del Rey.

Here’s what I found:

  • Out of 2,900+ total searches that hit Luddite Stereo in the last 90 days, just over 930 were looking for something related to Lana Del Rey. That’s nearly one-third of all searches.
  • The percentage of image-related searches at Luddite Stereo was:
    —  59% before the Lana article was published
      79% after the Lana article was published
    (i.e. since I wrote the Lana Del Rey piece, the whole site has experienced a 20% jump in image searches alone. Yikes.)

Extrapolating those numbers a bit, 79% of 930 searches is 735 (the number of LDR image searches) which when you divide by 2,900 (the total number of searches on Luddite Stereo) equals 0.25.

Basically, one-quarter of all the people who visit my site come to look at Lana Del Rey.


As an internet user, I don’t find this particularly shocking — people enjoy looking at other people who are pretty, and Lana certainly is easy on the eyes these days. But as a writer, I gotta say it’s downright depressing. Here I am, crafting articles from blood, sweat and tears, and 1 out of every 4 of my “readers” is really just looking for a snapshot of Lana. Granted, those people may have stayed to listen to her music or read a bit about her, but upon arrival, they were definitely looking for her picture.

Incidentally, while 735 people looked for a picture of LDR, 58 people actually cared enough to download her song “Video Games” from this site. So you could reasonably argue that, at least on this site, Lana’s image is roughly 13 times more compelling than her sound. While this estimate ignores those visitors who went out and bought her music (after all, Del Rey has sold well over a million copies of Born to Die), it sure makes for an interesting discussion.

All of this probably wouldn’t be such a big deal if Del Rey (real name Lizzy Grant) hadn’t been accused of drastically altering her image to generate a buzz around her music. That story played out in the my search data too, where more than one person searched on each of the following phrases:

  • “lana del rey sexy”
  • “lana del rey before and after photos”
  • “lizzy grant surgery”
  • “lana del rey admits silicone lips”
  • “lana del rey lopsided” (now that’s just cruel)

I wonder how Lana Del Rey feels about all of this. Delighted? Used? Vindicated?   Conflicted, at the very least? She works hard on her debut album and people simply want to ogle at her. Is it all by design? Do any of these window shoppers who stop to check out the beautiful merchandise out in front of the store come inside to find out the story behind it?

And don’t all of us do this in some form or another? Nobody posts a shitty profile picture of themselves on a dating site (except maybe these folks) or dresses like crap for that first job interview. Everyday, we put our prettiest face forward and hope someone sticks around long enough to find out more.

And as for content authors, isn’t that one of the reasons why we post pictures on these blogs at all? To get people in the door?

Speaking of which…

There. The obligatory picture of our singer. In her underwear. Contemplating a sequel to Born to Die, no doubt.

I know its exploitative, but I gotta keep those hits up. I’m starting to understand what it feels like to be Lana Del Rey.

5 comments on “Lana Del Rey’s Image Is More Compelling Than Her Sound

  1. Sandy Leonard
    April 30, 2012

    I agree with you. Her image is more interesting to me than her music. And I’m a gay man. So what does that do to your statistics, mister? I kind of like the phenomenon of her. But when I search out one of her videos on YouTube, the music drives me away pretty quickly. So there.

  2. Matt F
    May 2, 2012

    I am hoping that Grouplove, Two Door Cinema Club, or Foster The People come out with a second album that has some MUSIC worth writing about. In the meantime, keep on fighting the good fight.

  3. Pingback: Born to Die – Lana Del Rey – album review |

  4. susan
    September 12, 2012

    That’s our society today – she is a very beautiful woman before and after. 😉 if she would confess that she did a lip job, I believe people wouldn’t be interested so much any more.

    Just speaking of me ….

    Thx for the artikel anyway 😉 xxx

  5. susan
    September 12, 2012

    I assume music industrie is giving her pressure. New Artists have no rights whatsoever. She sacrificed herself probably. Beautiful woman ….

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This entry was posted on April 30, 2012 by in Feature, Lana Del Rey.
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