Give people a rumor spark and some kindling (especially about Daft Punk), and the internet will go berserk — even if there’s virtually nothing to go on. The latest case, revealed over the weekend, involves a Redditor who found a Daft Punk page on the Lollapalooza website. This Reddit find, following shortly after a leaked flyer and the Daft Punk/The Weeknd collab Starboy drop, has fueled rampant speculation Daft Punk will be touring in 2017.
DJ Mag, NME, Dancing Astronaut, YourEDM and many others have reported on the supposed preponderance of evidence supporting Daft Punk’s 2017 return. We want a Daft Punk tour too, but let’s be real about the implications. Daft Punk making music hasn’t ever guaranteed they will play live shows. Random Access Memories was released over 3 years ago (!) and nothing live has happened, apart from a few one-off performances.
First, the facts: 1) Reddit leaks a Lollapalooza Chile flyer with both Daft Punk and The Weeknd listed as headliners, 2) a Redditor finds that http://lollapalooza.com/tag/daft-punk is an active page, and has been since February 2016. On these two points alone the internet has gone alight with the “news” that Daft Punk will be making their triumphant once-every-ten-years return to touring.
Apart from a source close to the band confirming Daft Punk isn’t taking 2017 offers, there is another perfectly reasonable explanation for this page appearing — and while it’s mega-boring it’s also probably the truth. That reason: WordPress.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a “content management system (CMS)” that powers almost 5% of the internet, including the Lollapalooza website. New York Observer, New York Post, TED, Thought Catalog, Williams, USA Today, CNN, Fortune.com, TIME.com, National Post, Spotify, TechCrunch, CBS Local, and NBC all use WordPress.
In addition to these websites, Dance Music Northwest (and most EDM-related websites) are also built on WordPress. Automattic, the company that makes WordPress, has built an extremely robust system for creating content-related websites quickly and easily, while still allowing for total custom development — like DMNW’s Club Hub, which is almost entirely custom-built.
Sites like ours generate thousands of articles, and that mass of journalism requires a comprehensive method of organization for readers and for the staff. One of these organizational tools is called “tagging.” Tagging helps the website software associate an article with other similar articles, which can be useful for recommending further reading. You can see that this very article is tagged with “Daft Punk” at the end.
Why the Daft Punk page probably doesn’t mean a tour
OK, so somebody found a Daft Punk tag archive page on the LollaPalooza website. The theory goes that, since the page was created in February, there’s a good chance it’s legit and not a leftover from Alive 2007. Here’s the thing: WordPress creates these pages by default when a tag is created. In other words, if the Lollapalooza website crew created a Daft Punk tag for literally any reason, the page would automagically come into existence.
Of note: The fact that suddenly no tag archives can be found on the Lollapalooza website further supports the idea that someone simply forgot to change the default setting until the media uproar.
There are a ton of reasons a Daft Punk tag would get created, up to and including by total accident. Here is the link to an “Alive 2007” tag that is active on our site, despite not having a single associated article. Sites have hundreds or thousands of these that get lost in the writing, editing, and production process.
The significance of the leaked poster is also questionable. Ask yourself: If Daft Punk were about to emerge from a 10-year touring hiatus and triumphantly return to Lollapalooza, do you really think they’d get 2nd-line booking to make room for The Strokes? Booking Daft Punk would be the music news of the decade (literally), and there’s almost no chance their publicists would settle for anything but the marquee.
Daft Punk rumors are fun and virtually everyone wants them to tour, but this almost complete unavailability is what makes them so damn desirable. Daft Punk is known for their musical prowess first, but their brand image is a ridiculously close 2nd. If it turns out they do tour in 2017 we’ll be as excited as anyone, but rumors should be based on solid intel, not speculation and desire.
For now, it’s safe to assume the hiatus continues.
Update: Dancing Astronaut and YourEDM have both rolled back their previous stories with new stories acknowledging the Daft Punk rumors are unlikely to be true.